Matching Items (15)

The History and Practical Applications of Video Games as a Medium for Dispersing Knowledge of and Generating Discussion Around Sustainability

Description

Games are prolific as an educational medium, and are able to tell a much richer story than pictures or words alone. This has led to the widespread phenomenon known as

Games are prolific as an educational medium, and are able to tell a much richer story than pictures or words alone. This has led to the widespread phenomenon known as “gamification” in the educational and business sectors, as well as educational games. While gamification itself is very prolific, its application to sustainability issues has been somewhat limited. With the progression of technology and the high percentage of gamers within the population, the time is ripe for a paradigm shift. Humans have always played games to inform themselves and others, and though this takes many forms, they always will, be their efforts dedicated to education, entertainment, or profit. While teaching and entertainment may sometimes be at odds with one another, they do not have to be. Many audiences respond well to varied forms of entertainment, and when the ability of a thing designed to further educate or gamify is given room to be entertaining as well, all involved benefit. Sustainability as a whole is an incredibly nebulous and broad concept, such that current educational and entertaining games exploring the subject largely addresses it on a smaller scale, or looks at a piece of the picture instead of all of it, as smaller pieces are easier to break down and address. There are ways that games can be and are vehicles for both entertainment and education, and by combining the two end goals in relatively equal measure, a solid platform can be built off of which both learning and personal growth can occur.

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Date Created
  • 2019-05

Evaluating Whole-School Sustainability

Description

Circles of Sustainability is a self-evaluation tool designed to build educator capacity in K-12 schools seeking sustainability solutions. Based on the Sustainable Schools Challenge Handbook from Memphis, Tennessee, Circles of

Circles of Sustainability is a self-evaluation tool designed to build educator capacity in K-12 schools seeking sustainability solutions. Based on the Sustainable Schools Challenge Handbook from Memphis, Tennessee, Circles of Sustainability considers environmental impact and efficiency, a healthy and safe school environment, sustainability and environmental education, and engagement and empowerment as four key pillars of whole-school sustainability. Each pillar is composed of elements and rubric items, which are reviewed, totaled, and colored in on the front page of the tool to help educators visualize and evaluate the current state of sustainability at their school. Since its first iteration completed in May 2017, the tool has been used by 300 educators throughout the United States during ASU's Sustainability Teachers' Academy (STA) workshops. Circles of Sustainability is completed as part of an activity called "Evaluating Your Community," where educators complete the tool and then brainstorm sustainability projects and solutions for their school and community. This paper is a review and discussion of the research, informal feedback and formal feedback used to create the second iteration of the tool. A second iteration of the tool was created to make the tool more user-friendly and ensure each pillar, element, and rubric item are based in research. The informal feedback was conducted during STA workshops in Tempe, Arizona; Abingdon, Virginia; Princeton, New Jersey; Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; Tucson, Arizona; and Charlotte, North Carolina. The formal feedback was conducted using a survey distributed to teachers who participated in the Tucson and Charlotte workshops. Overall, educators have responded positively to the tool, and the second iteration will continue to be used in future STA workshops throughout the United States.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Doctors and Diapers: Promoting Sustainable Practices Through Pediatric Healthcare

Description

Incorporating sustainability education in primary healthcare practice is an important step toward promoting sustainability in the US healthcare system. This health strategy is also consistent with a renewed focus of

Incorporating sustainability education in primary healthcare practice is an important step toward promoting sustainability in the US healthcare system. This health strategy is also consistent with a renewed focus of the US healthcare system, mainly prompted by the Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010, toward preventive care and patient wellness. The major challenge, however, is an effective implementation of sustainability education in the healthcare industry. This honors thesis project developed a sustainability education model, in which primary healthcare providers or the physicians educated the patients about sustainability and its connection to public health issues. The main purpose of this thesis project is to analyze the effectiveness of this sustainability education model and to evaluate its impact on the individuals and households in terms of sustainable attitudes and practices. The study was conducted with 26 parents of newborn babies at Estrella Pediatrics PC using a classic randomized control-group pretest-posttest design. The Pre- and Post-Surveys were completed to evaluate change in their knowledge and attitudes toward sustainability practices covered in the sustainability education model. In the research, the relationships between sustainability-related issues and their negative impacts on the health of human beings were established in the sustainability education pamphlet provided to the physicians, which they shared with the patients during the wellness visits. This pamphlet focused on waste management, air pollution, and locally grown food. Moreover, samples of environmentally-friendly diapers were given to the study respondents to complement this education. The study demonstrated positive trends with the intervention protocol, though the level of statistical significance was marginal. More specifically, it was observed that the respondents placed the highest significance on the education provided by the pediatricians. Interestingly, the receipt of the diaper samples by itself did not generate any significant effect. However, the education provided by the physician and the pamphlet coupled with the diaper gave very positive results. In conclusion, physician led sustainability education has significant potential in promoting sustainability in primary healthcare practice, and further inquiry should be pursued.

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Date Created
  • 2015-12

Integrating Systems Thinking Concepts into an Elementary School Gardening Program: Analyzing Sustainability Education

Description

This research paper assesses the effectiveness of a remote garden-based learning curriculum in teaching elementary students’ basic systems thinking concepts. Five remote lessons were designed, covering different garden topics, and

This research paper assesses the effectiveness of a remote garden-based learning curriculum in teaching elementary students’ basic systems thinking concepts. Five remote lessons were designed, covering different garden topics, and in order to integrate systems thinking concepts, the Systems Thinking Hierarchical Model was used. This model includes eight emergent characteristics of systems thinking necessary for developing systems thinking competency. Five students were given the remote garden-based learning lessons. Student work was evaluated for systems thinking understanding and student outcomes were compared to anticipated learning outcomes. Results suggest that elementary students are able to understand basic systems thinking concepts because student work met anticipated outcomes for four systems thinking characteristics and exceeded anticipated outcomes for one characteristic. These results are significant because they further confirm that elementary-aged students do have the ability to understand systems thinking and they contribute to a growing movement to integrate sustainability education into elementary curriculum.

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Date Created
  • 2021-05

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Teaching the Elementary Student about Sustainability: Why is it Essential?

Description

The following study will address the questions: "Why is it essential to teach elementary students about sustainability?" and "How do we teach elementary students about sustainability?" Teachers have an obligation

The following study will address the questions: "Why is it essential to teach elementary students about sustainability?" and "How do we teach elementary students about sustainability?" Teachers have an obligation to their students, as well as to the planet, to make their students concerned about sustainability. Many natural resources students need in the future in order to survive are running out. Without a future generation prepared with the skills to challenge issues and investigate complex problems, the Earth will remain in a jeopardized state. Teachers need to incorporate sustainability-themed literature into their classrooms and lessons in order to prepare this future generation with those skills. Teachers should inform their students about the history of the term "sustainability." During this study, it was found that the sustainability curriculum topics and the "Four Ways of Thinking" could have been included into the existing curriculum. Subsequently, sustainable and critical thinking are aligned because they both share many of the same skills. Teachers could have students investigate current and past news articles to discover the problems caused by using natural resources unsustainably. Current news articles could be given to students, so they can look at how these issues can be solved with the use of alternative resources. Many of the younger students might not have a high enough reading level to understand news articles. There have been websites created that are geared toward younger audiences, so this would allow teachers to incorporate news into their lessons. Projects and class discussions should be rooted in sustainability. Class discussions can take place every day or once a week, while projects can occur over the course of a single month. Many teachers think the curriculum is too focused on improving state test scores. Nevertheless, the curriculum should contain sustainable and critical thinking skills. The implementation of sustainability education seems to overwhelm teachers because some do not see how they can incorporate it into their classrooms. However, this study found that these particular instructors can design existing lesson topics around the content and ways of thinking in sustainability education. Another reason why there is resistance to sustainability education is because the sustainability programs would add even more to each school's budget. Schools could raise funds for sustainability education, or apply for grants from the government. The in-depth literature review within this qualitative and open-ended study looked at subjective data. Sustainability, sustainability education, elementary curriculum, classroom, and teachers were just a sample of the key terms used for article searches in Google Scholar through Arizona State University. The reduction techniques included discarding any literature that neither linked directly to the problem statement nor with the ideas relating to the research questions. Limitations within the field of sustainability and elementary education include the research among middle and high schools across the nation. Many of the ideas for future research include the analysis of the long-term effects of incorporation of sustainability education within elementary curricula.

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  • 2016-05

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The Potential Effects of Sustainability Education Training for Employees within a For-Profit Business Entity

Description

Over the past decade, corporate social responsibilities and sustainability has become more of a trending topic; not only amongst citizens, but within many private firms as well. Aligning operations with

Over the past decade, corporate social responsibilities and sustainability has become more of a trending topic; not only amongst citizens, but within many private firms as well. Aligning operations with sustainable practices within a for-profit firm or organization has evolved into a critical focus area in order for a company to be more sustainable.
Having sustainable practices in place can be significant, but it is also important to consider employees and their perspectives, as they are the ones who implement them. The majority of the employees that work within an organization, not those that create these policies, are the ones who’s perspectives should be more strongly considered. In order to effectively implement these practices, firms can educate their employees about the initiatives or newly implemented changes to current practices. Sustainability education for employees, covering company-specific policies, improves the likelihood of participation within initiatives. Increased employee education has the potential to raise the probability that companies will see the benefits that come with enacting sustainable practices.

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  • 2019-05

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Assessing the Development of Key Competencies in Sustainability

Description

Making significant progress on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) needs change agents equipped with key competencies in sustainability. While thousands of sustainability programs have emerged at various educational levels

Making significant progress on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) needs change agents equipped with key competencies in sustainability. While thousands of sustainability programs have emerged at various educational levels over the past decade, there is, as of yet, no reliable way to assess if these programs successfully convey key competencies in sustainability. This dissertation contributes to addressing this gap in three ways. First, it reviews the body of work on key competencies in sustainability. Based on broad agreement around five key competencies as well as an emerging set of three, an extended framework is outlined that can be used as unified set of learning objectives across sustainability programs. The next chapter reviews the scholarly work on assessing sustainability competencies. Based on this review, a typology of assessment tools is proposed offering guidance to both educators and researchers. Finally, drawing on experience of the four-year “Educating Future Change Agents” project, the last chapter explores the results from a diverse set of competency assessments in numerous courses. The study appraises assessment practices and results to demonstrate opportunities and challenges in the current state of assessing key competencies in sustainability. The results of this doctoral thesis are expected to make a practical and scholarly contribution to the teaching and learning in sustainability programs, in particular with regards to reliably assessing key competencies in sustainability.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Inside-Out Pedagogies: Transformative Innovations for Environmental and Sustainability Education

Description

Institutions of higher learning can be centers of meaning-making and learning and are expected to play a pivotal role in a global shift toward sustainability. Despite recent innovations, much sustainability

Institutions of higher learning can be centers of meaning-making and learning and are expected to play a pivotal role in a global shift toward sustainability. Despite recent innovations, much sustainability education today is still delivered using traditional pedagogies common across higher education. Therefore, students and facilitators should continue innovating along pedagogical themes consistent with the goals of sustainability: transformation and emancipation. Yet, more clarity is needed about pedagogical approaches that will transform and emancipate students, allowing them to become innovators that change existing structures and systems. My dissertation attempts to address this need using three approaches. First, I present a framework combining four interacting (i.e., complementary) pedagogies (transmissive, transformative, instrumental, and emancipatory) for sustainability education, helping to reify pedagogical concepts, rebel against outdated curricula, and orient facilitators/learners on their journey toward transformative and emancipatory learning. Second, I use a descriptive case study of a sustainability education course set outside of the traditional higher education context to highlight pedagogical techniques that led to transformative and emancipatory outcomes for learners partaking in the course. Third, I employ the method of autoethnography to explore my own phenomenological experience as a sustainability student and classroom facilitator, helping others to identify the disenchanting paradoxes of sustainability education and integrate the lessons they hold. All three approaches of the dissertation maintain a vision of sustainability education that incorporates contemplative practices as essential methods in a field in need of cultivating hope, resilience, and emergence.

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  • 2019

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Young people and climate change: beliefs and behavioral choices among high school students from Phoenix, AZ and Plainfield, IL

Description

As climate change becomes a greater challenge in today's society, it is critical to understand young people's perceptions of the phenomenon because they will become the next generation of decision-makers.

As climate change becomes a greater challenge in today's society, it is critical to understand young people's perceptions of the phenomenon because they will become the next generation of decision-makers. This study examines knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors among high school students. The subjects of this study include students from high school science classes in Phoenix, Arizona, and Plainfield, Illinois. Using surveys and small group interviews to engage students in two climatically different locations, three questions were answered:

1) What do American students know and believe about climate change? How is knowledge related to beliefs?

2) What types of behaviors are students exhibiting that may affect climate change? How do beliefs relate to behavioral choices?

3) Do climate change knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors vary between geographic locations in the United States?

The results of this study begin to highlight the differences between knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors around the United States. First, results showed that students have heard of climate change but often confused aspects of the problem, and they tended to focus on causes and impacts, as opposed to solutions. Related to beliefs, students tended to believe that climate change is caused by both humans and natural trends, and would affect plant and animal species more than themselves and their families. Second, students were most likely to participate in individual behaviors such as turning off lights and electronics, and least likely to take public transportation and eat a vegetarian meal. Individual behaviors seem to be most relevant to this age group, in contrast to policy solutions. Third, students in Illinois felt they would be more likely to experience colder temperatures and more precipitation than those in Arizona, where students were more concerned about rising temperatures.

Understanding behaviors, motivations behind beliefs and choices, and barriers to actions can support pro-environmental behavior change. Educational strategies can be employed to more effectively account for the influences on a young person's belief formation and behavior choices. Providing engagement opportunities with location-specific solutions that are more feasible for youth to participate in on their own could also support efforts for behavior change.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Harnessing the impacts of schools: new insights for sustainable community development

Description

This dissertation explores the unique role schools play in contributing toward a sustainable future for their communities. This was undertaken by first conducting a thorough review and analysis of the

This dissertation explores the unique role schools play in contributing toward a sustainable future for their communities. This was undertaken by first conducting a thorough review and analysis of the literature on the current utilization of schools as agents of sustainable development, along with an evaluation of schools engaging in this model around the United States. Following this, a framework was developed to aid in the assessment of school-community engagements from the perspective of social change. Sustainability problem solving tools were synthesized for use by schools and community stakeholders, and were tested in the case study of this dissertation. This case study combined methods from the fields of sustainable development, transition management, and social change to guide two schools in their attempts to increase community sustainability through addressing a shared sustainability problem: childhood obesity. The case study facilitated the creation of a sustainable vision for the Phoenix Metropolitan Area without childhood obesity, as well as strategic actions plans for each school to utilize as they move forward on addressing this challenge.

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Date Created
  • 2013