VIRTUE online: Ocean literacy through studies of biodiversity
The main objective of the course is to develop digital and practical tools to increase the quality of teaching natural sciences using ocean-based examples. The course aims to teach youngsters, through educating and inspiring their teachers, about the ocean and make them more ocean literate. The course is based on the unique methodology of the VIRTUE project www.virtue-s.eu, and is a great way to learn about and measure biodiversity of aquatic environment through the accumulation of organisms (biofouling) on CD-shaped discs.
The course starts with an introduction to the VIRTUE project. How racks are mounted and placed in water and how to identify and describe the most common biofouling species on the discs is then described. The basics of photography and microscopy are included in the course. The course participants also learn how to calculate different biodiversity indices. By introducing Project Based Learning, the course participants get tools to create an interest in their students in various research issues and how they would design experiments and how to report their results. The VIRTUE project also creates opportunities for students and teachers to communicate with other groups via the internet to present and compare findings. Media literacy is therefore included as a course element. The course also includes general information about the concept of Ocean literacy and specifically how the VIRTUE project aids in introducing Ocean literacy in the classroom. The course gives examples of how other scientific subjects, but also language, media and art can be integrated into the work with the VIRTUE discs.