Regional Research Projects: virtual field trips
Working Group:Early InquiryCountry:PolandLanguages:PolishAge of students (target group/s):13-14, 15-18Links, resources:
Contact person information:UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The main goal of this project was to elaborate a set of educational paths by teachers participating in GLOBE Program. For this purpose, workshops were carried out for teachers – special training module (training for regional coaches). Teachers using Google Earth tool got the task to mark out the education path in remotely controlled way – near their school (marking out coordinates of observation points. Next they performed field classes with GPS devices. In these lessons students made field observations and filled documentation of each observation point. Many paths were elaborated through cooperation with students (the use of participatory methods). They could propose their own paths and observation/measurement points. In the frame of this project, 15 virtual trips were elaborated. All the routes were published on the special website as reusable material for other teachers or as a source of inspiration. The website is an online platform for information and education, presenting the information on the environment and nature and inspiring to an active participation in the activities aimed at a research and protection of the environment.

Project included the following elements:
• Marking out of educational and research path near the school;
• Registration of the paths and designated stops – educational measurement/observation points using GPS;
• Elaborating of methodical conception of field research, including work with research project method and GLOBE Program methodology;
• Observations and measurements of environmental parameters on marked educational and research paths;
• Elaborating (summing-up, interpretation) of achieved results;
In-door work and field measurements which were made by students were based on Program GLOBE methodology.
In field classes, students learnt how to use simple measurement equipment related to hydrology, atmosphere, height and diameter at breast height measurements. Students could give examples of negative results of human activity (and their causes).
Students observed, learnt and meant tree species using the keys and guides. Filling the worksheets, they carried out defined measurements and calculations, which had influence on their research attitude. Work on the educational and research path significantly affected the formation of emotional bonds with nature.
In lessons, students worked in groups, so they demonstrated their cooperation, communication. They expressed their own opinions and skills.Strong points and opportunities:• Educational materials elaborated in frame of the project are shared on the website and can be downloaded at any time, so that they could be used by other teachers/educators (i.e. teaching paths description, GPS files, multimedia materials, field classes scenarios, collected and interpreted results of the researches);
• Interdisciplinary character of tasks on educational path (overall look on the environment);
• New form of classes, attractive for students (encouraging students to science education);
• Thanks to the classes, students could exploit theoretical knowledge in practical use (learning by exploring);
• Good inspiration for other teachers to create similar educational trips;
• Using measurement equipment (i.e. GPS);Limitations:• It happened that teachers were not interested in organization of field classes;
• Lack of technical base in schools – lack of measurement equipment;Added value with regards to the 3 topics of the MASS project:• Using ICT tools during the lessons (i.e. GPS devices, geoportal applications);
• Promoting learning by practical experience among students (teaching by exploring/ research)
• Innovative form of teaching which can be interesting and inspiring for students to carry out their own researches;Any prerequisites needed:• Appropriate equipment for workshops (computers with access to the Internet);
• Access to measurement equipment (GPS, thermometer, indicators, binoculars, camera, guidebooks);