Learning About Nature – Recent Developments in Online Teaching Materials Related to Nature and Sustainability

Purpose: To examine school external websites in order to analyze how organisations, institutions and interest groups provide students with an understanding of nature.

Support Type: Project

Description: Challenges related to man’s interactions with nature has, for a long time, been recognised in schools. From 1960 and onwards it was mostly as aspects of pollution, later as environmental topics, and recently sustainability and climate changes are foregrounded. In schools, these challenges have mostly found a place within the school subject ‘biology’ but increasingly in other subjects, too. A majority of the teaching material used today is developed by external bodies such as private companies, museums, and NGOs and not necessarily by authors directly related to school. The reason is concordance with a tendency that sees agents outside the the school as being able to widen the perspectives on the subjects studied. Using the school external websites this project aims at analyzing how these bodies provide students with an understanding of man’s relation to nature and how this has developed since 2005.

The project’s point of departure is based on findings from an existing project on physical teaching materials (books).

This project will through a search on specific key terms – ‘natursyn’ [view on nature] or ‘naturforståelse’ [understanding of nature] defined through the occurence of concepts such as  ’biologi’ [biology], ’miljø’ [environment], ’forurening’ [pollution], ’klima’ [climate], ’bæredygtighed’ [sustainability] linked to concepts such as ’undervisning’ [teaching], ’skole’ [school], ’kvalifikationer’ [qualification], ’faglig’ [academic/professional] – identify and analyze the content of these websites and links between these websites. Websites which will be of interest will be specific private companies, museums, NGOs and alike.

Support period: Autumn 2020 – Spring 2021

Project Team:

Marianne Høyen, Associate professor, DPU, Aarhus University