Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Learning for Sustainable Developments

The United Nations declared 2005-2014 the  Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) "Education in general has been affected by the multiple crisis – not only in terms of threats to budgets, aid flows and learning opportunities, but also in terms of the very purposes of education: what kind of society and economy, indeed what kind of future should education prepare learners for? And how should it respond to the changing realities around us as well as prepare for – and contribute to – a different future? These types of questions have long been important components of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), but have now, in 2010, acquired new urgency and relevance. " UNESCO (2010)

Two Geography senior lecturers from the University, one of whom Dr Greg Spellman is from the School of Science and Technology, along with Dr Faith Tucker (School of Social Sciences) have developed a level 4 module called 'Learning for Sustainable Development'. This has involved a range of innovative methods.such as:

  • UN style role-playing
  • Producing a video documentary on a sustainability research project.
  • Blogs  to enable students to think about sustainability in their daily lives.

Spin-offs from this include a project working with a northamptonshire school on sustainability, fitting with the other projects involving sustainability and school's (e.g. Junkbots) that are on going within the School of Science and Technology.


UNESCO (2010) "UNESCO Strategy for the Second Half of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development" [internet]  :Paris:UNESCO (Published 2010) Available at: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001873/187305e.pdf

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Robots and Graphical Programming: Xi'an China

Two members of the computing division recently presented a paper "Innovative use of Robots and Graphical Programming in Software Education " at  6th China Europe International Symposium on Software Industry Oriented Education (CEISIE2010) Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi'an China.

Abstract: Problem solving is an important skill for a computer scientist. Mindstorm based robots have been used previously, for teaching programming to computing and engineering students here we look at problem solving. These approaches focus upon the development of problem solving skills and not on learning a new programming language from the outset. Therefore, initially, any programming is kept simple with the minimum of commands, with „objects‟ unknowingly used, as these are later introduced/learnt during the programming stage of the computing module. This work suggests that using LEGO robots within the teaching of problem solving and the resulting java GUI emulation has some benefits for the students when learning to program. 


More details can be found in the following article :
Turner S and Hill G (2010) "Innovative use of Robots and Graphical Programming in Software Education" Computer Education Ser. 117 No. 9 pp 54-57 ISSN: 1672-5913