by Alan Yeung 2017-12-11
I will be presenting as Executive Director of Nature Pacific Foundation at the upcoming European Coral Reef Symposium (ECRS2017) at Oxford, England on December 15, 2017.
Under Session 7 – Can volunteers bridge the knowledge gap in reef conservation and research? Lessons from the field, this talk is entitled “21st century education: supporting reef conservation and research through experiential and service learning in Borneo, Palau and China.”
“Inquiry based learning is taking hold in schools where conservation and research are becoming a legitimate and beneficial means in pupils’ learning experience outside the classroom. Through experiential and service learning, knowledge is created through the transformation of experience, and schools are blending “instruction and direction” with the opportunity for pupils to serve in a local community. Learning is no longer about reading or hearing about others’ experiences, but also by making one’s discoveries and experimenting with knowledge firsthand. In the field, pupils do science and contribute by collecting samples, analyzing data, and communicating results.
In this talk, we share examples and outcomes of research done or led by pupils, supported by teachers and scientists. Emerging programs, in the form of travel/study trips to Borneo, research expeditions to Palau, and inquiry based learning at a micro-campus in China, are designed to maximize exposure to the “big four” goals – experiential learning, personal growth, intercultural understanding, and making a positive impact. There, student volunteers make important connections to the world. They learn and retain more, grow personally through action and reflection, and expand their horizon in engagement and advocacy.
Through partnering with universities like Stanford and University of Hong Kong, research activities become more impactful and sustainable, in support of temporal and spatial data collection. To ensure rigor and quality, projects are guided by experts and quite often peer-reviewed papers and poster presentations are part of the learning outcomes. As a result, more pupils are becoming “budding conservation biologists and citizen scientists.”
Hope to see you there.