Ripple effects - a study of the learning outcomes of taking university students to a local coral reef

Stepath, Carl, and Whitehouse, Hilary (2006) Ripple effects - a study of the learning outcomes of taking university students to a local coral reef. In: Filho, Walter Leal, and Carpenter, David, (eds.) Sustainability in the Australasian University Context. Peter Lang, Frankfurt, Germany, pp. 129-139.

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Abstract

It is generally acceptcd that outdoor, experiential education is an effective dimension of education for sustainability (Palmer 19(8). Field visits are designed to enable greater understanding and increased awareness of special places and encourage future actions that may contribute to the sustainability of society. This chapter documents the experience of two researchers involved in experiential environmental education in a coral reef marine environment. Chains of coral reefs off the coast of northern Queensland are collectively known as the Grea, Barrier Reef (GSK) and arc designated as a World Heritage Area. These reefs are managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and several Queensland state government departments. The Cairns campus of James Cook University is located close to many coral reefs, and Cairns is well known as an international destination for peorle wishing to visit both the Great Barrier Reef and the World Heritage listed rainforests of the region. The Great Barrier Reef's estimated to be worth 1.2 billion AUDS annually to the Queensland economy. Our story documents the learning effects of taking uni versity students enrolled in both environmental studies and education programs at James Cook University to an offshore reef in 2002 and 2003. The research was conducted as part of Carl Stepath's doctoral studies in marine education in which he tested the effectiveness of a number of educational strategies for what he calls 'coral reef advocacy' within formal education. We report on research conducted with undergraduate tertiary students presenting qualitative data collected in situ on students learning experiences. We also investigate the effectiveness of using coral reef monitoring as a pedagogical device for enhancing reef learning. We then describe some unpredicted ripple effects of how this research project enabled education students to support changes in experiential educational practices at a Cairns primary school. This a positive story of individuals learning how to take up the challenge of education for sustainability in a community socially and economically dependent on the conservation of healthy coral reefs.

Item ID: 3620
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
Keywords: professional development; environmental education; coral reef education
ISBN: 978-3-631-55272-8
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2009 04:54
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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