Important educational tools and resources in raising awareness of environmental issues applicable in the water sector
Anca DRAGHICI, email@example.com
Politehnica University of Timisoara, Romania
The TeachSUS project – Teaching and Educating for Sustainability (project no. 2018-1-RO01-KA204-049253) has been implemented in the West Region of Romania, with the aim of designing and implementing a new teaching model for sustainable development at the pre-university level and establishing a coherent practical oriented structure as the Sustainable Excellence Center in Romania (located at the West University of Timisoara).
The project partners cover a wide range of educational levels, from preuniversity level, to university and continuous learning, and bring their experiences in diverse forms of education/training and support for youth and adults, from formal to nonformal education, talent management, career guidance and support, integration of young people into active life and professional activities, entrepreneurship, initiative support, and integration in society. Both parts, the universities, companies, and NGO’s involved have a common (and long demonstrated) interest in improving education and experience in developing and providing new curricula and courses, in improving educational and assessment tools, individually and/or in cooperative projects.
The general objective of TeachSUS project is to create a common new non-formal education structure for sustainability to enable organizations involvement in education and adult training/professional development from all over Europe. The scope is that the designed training
TeachSUS will provide learning experiences that empower students/beneficiaries to develop and evaluate alternative visions of a sustainable future. Beneficiary organizations will be able to work creatively with major stakeholders from economic sector in order to assure the practical link between education for sustainability and real economy/ community needs.
Non-university partners involved in project bring specialized knowledge and expertise in sustainable development, quality management, and development of information and communication technologies for management and
e-learning. All partners bring in this project their experience achieved from past European projects or from multi-stakeholder initiatives or approaches, and this competency mix ensures a high quality of the TeachSUS project results. Furthermore, created in benefit of trainers from nonformal education involved in all levels of education and will also ensure all premises for a wide cooperation with other stakeholders and a good promotion of these results.
In line with the balanced network approach underlying the TeachSUS consortium composition philosophy, all members participate in all the work packages, and each member will obtain the coordinating responsibility of at least one work package. UVT will take over the administrative coordination of the project, while Denkstatt will be responsible for the operative project management/technical coordination. Thus, the created international partnership of the TeachSUS project enables us to support the following topics related to education for sustainable development in the context of Erasmus+ programme: creativity and culture; environment and climate change; quality improvement institutions and/or methods (including school development).
In the project context, the TeachSUS skill card (Figure 0.1) shows the structure of the training programme structure. It consists of technical and Soft skills, each being divided into two categories: advanced and basic skills.
In the context of the TeachSUS training program, a Water Management Module has been developed. The learning objectives (WHAT WE TEACH-LEARN?) are the following:
(1) Students will acquire general knowledge about the physical and chemical aspects of water and will carry out experiments on the same topic;
(2) They will be able to describe the most important aspects of the water cycle and will link these aspects with local water sources and their own supply systems;
(3) Students will become more aware of the influence of climate (climate change) and weather conditions on local water supplies;
(4) Students will be able to distinguish between different types of natural sources of drinking water, will conduct experiments on how the soil purifies the water, and will conduct primary water tests to identify water quality.
The didactical methods used (HOW WE TEACH?) for the case of different water management issues are: theoretical knowledge presentation (ppt); presentation and debates with an expert (an employee from the local company of water services); project and problem-based learning; experiential learning.
Most lessons are designed to create a real learning experience:
- In class, as a lesson associated with chemistry and physics (environmental sciences). In this case, teachers are invited to use the already created educational resources and to imagine and implement projects topics and problem-based learning approaches;
- Outdoor lessons (e.g., visiting a water treatment plant, the laboratory for water quality, or the water company in your community). For this type of lessons in Timisoara, we are supported by the Aquatim company and Aquademica Children and students could achieve knowledge at the Aquapic educational center (https://www.facebook.com/aquapic/) and by visiting and getting familiar with other water management infrastructures (as the water treatment plant is in Timisoara).
In addition, a recent experience of the Aquatim company and Politehnica University of Timisoara has been dedicated to the development of a series of workshops (mainly dedicated to students and specialists!) on “Water Loss Detectives” (https://aquademica.ro/invitation-to-the-water-loss-detectives-2020/).
The available learnig topics in the field of water management are:
- Water resource on Earth (availability, consumption);
- Water as a lifesaving liquid;
- Water quality;
- Water sanitation and hygiene;
- Correct hand washing can avoid
the transmission of pathogens and diseases;
- Lessons on water resource scarcity;
- Water pollution – SDG targets 6.3 and 6.6;
- How to protect and restore water-related ecosystems;
- Water consumption and water footprint;
- Water saving tips in the house and outside the house;
Finally, the training lessons mission and vision are based on:
- Knowledge acquisition process related to the activities on water management;
- Increasing the volunteers’ activities in the field of water management;
- Intensify activities to raise awareness of the importance of water for life;
- Increase the propaganda for water saving, sanitation and hygiene in schools, in the communities;
- Advertising and publicity about the actions for preserving the ecosystems around us (rivers, lakes, springs, waterfalls etc.);
- Create partnerships with stakeholders and prepare campaigns together.
For more details and information, you can access the additional TeachSUS teaching, learning, and assessment resources are provided by:
- The TeachSUS webpage, https://www.teachsus.eu/home from which teachers are directed to the following:
- The Digital Library, https://www.teachsus.eu/digital-library, consists of various types of resources (presentations, video, articles, and other external resources);
- Intellectual outputs which are studies and research results on important topics related to education for sustainable development, https://www.teachsus.eu/results;
- Events and activities, https://www.teachsus.eu/events-and-activities to get in touch with a large community of teachers, trainers, and students;
- dissemination, https://www.teachsus.eu/dissemination to be informed through different actions that are taking place by the members of the TeachSUS international consortium;
- The TeachSUS e-learning platform, http://teachsus.projects.uvt.ro/, which includes all training materials, additional learning resources, and assessment tests developed to support the TeachSUS training program. Materials are provided in English, Romania, Hungarian, Portuguese, and Slovenian;
- The TeachSUS Facebook page, https://web.facebook.com/teachsus/, which allows teachers and learners from the community to contact them in the field of sustainable development.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. This article is linked with the research activities related to the project: “Teaching and Educating for Sustainability” (TeachSUS_2018-1-RO01-KA204-049253), founded with support of the European Commission. This paper and the communication reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use, which may be made of the information contained therein.