The ECO project – Environment Curiosity as an Opportunity – is a strategic partnership of six schools from Germany, The Netherlands, UK, Italy and Spain that directly addresses two flagships initiatives of Europe 2020 strategy: Youth on the move and an agenda for new skills and jobs but it also responds to other two flagships: Innovation Union and Resource Efficient Europe.
It has been developed as a response to the concern about the global climate change and its negative impact on teenagers. Their attitudes towards environmental issues often fail to translate into lifestyle changes and actions at a personal level as their understanding is superficial, personal concern is relatively low and susceptible to be overwhelmed. Fear is often the main message of climate change communication and teenagers and their families feel disempowered.
The main goal of ECO is to be the catalyst needed to galvanize our students to take action to reduce the causes and take steps to prepare for the changes which are coming. Students will be exposed to environmental problems related to their personal context in order to create learning experiences that are relevant and meaningful for them and will connect personal and world resources assuring they approach the challenging issue of climate change as an opportunity. This new perspective will raise concern and a positive attitude and elicit active engagement to be effective. The multicultural scenario in each school and in the partnership will enrich the shift to intercultural education and curriculum within a European dimension.
The project is addressed to 900 secondary school students aged 15-18 who will work collaboratively via eTwinning and Google Drive. In addition, the six project partners will all be working with a range of local and regional stakeholders meaning that there will be a very large number of indirect participants.
Activities: In this two-year project students will be the main protagonists of their learning and teachers will guide and provide scaffolding support face to face and through technology. They will analyse, compare and take actions related to efficient energy, climate change, the European consumption family portrait and sustainable development. They will organize workshops to present their proposals, take part in several competitions: project logo, Eco product and its advertising campaign and two challenge tasks to be agreed by the students themselves. They will also produce other outcomes such as infographics, ICT presentations, and documentaries among others. Teachers within interdisciplinary and active teaching methods will create lesson plans that together with the students’ outcomes will be available to other schools on the ECO website.
The methodology to be used in carrying out the project would follow the lifecycle plan: needs analysis, planning, implementation, control and closure. This will enable all the participants to notice where and when problems may arise. We will also follow a collaborative participatory approach that guarantees participant’s commitment and the project relevance and sustainability incorporating the perspectives of different stakeholders. The dissemination of the project is essential to reach families and local communities, and larger numbers of teachers but it is especially relevant to motivate students and teachers by breaking down the classroom walls and linking the project and what is done at school to real life. Some of the skills as learning outcomes expected to be acquired by the participants are