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Ocean Literacy and Information Sources: Comparison Between Pupils in Portugal and the UK

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Manifestations of climate change can be found in subtle shifts in environmental conditions, such as sea level rise, melting glaciers or changing oceanic acidity due to atmospheric CO 2 uptake. Over the past two decades, a great deal of media production has focused on informing the public about scientific discoveries about the health of the ocean and conveying the idea that it is essential to understand and protect the ocean for the well-being of the planet. Better public understanding of the ocean is an important part of resolving these complex and critical issues, since one of the explanations is the public's low level of concern about climate changes which results from a lack of public understanding of the problem [1], [2]. Moreover, engaging learners in experiences focused on the ocean helps them build personal correlations with the ocean and coasts, which motivate them to become ocean literate and to act on behalf of the ocean [1], [3]. This paper analyses the knowledge about the ocean (or ocean literacy) of a sample of pupils in the UK and in Portugal, as well as the pupils' modes of gaining information about ocean-related topics by using different media sources of information (such as TV, radio, computer, mobile platforms, magazines, or books). It also examines which of these media are associated with higher levels of ocean literacy. Moreover, the paper also aims to establish if there is any relationship between levels of ocean literacy and feelings of personal responsibility and levels of ocean literacy and the importance pupils attribute to the ocean. The study uses quantitative methodology. The data were collected between March and October 2017 by means of an online survey administered to pupils who were studying science in years 7, 8, 9 (12-14 years) in six schools in Portugal and three schools in the UK. A total of 132 pupils responded the survey in Portugal and 328 students responded the survey in UK. This study suggests that, regarding the preferred source to get information about the ocean, the computer is clearly the preferred media, while the radio is the least chosen option by pupils in both countries. Moreover, findings show there is no significant association between the choice of media source and ocean literacy levels. The overall results suggest that the more the pupils know about the ocean the more important is for them and the more they feel personal responsibility for its well-being
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OCEAN LITERACY AND INFORMATION SOURCES: COMPARISON
BETWEEN PUPILS IN PORTUGAL AND THE UK
Rui Leitão1, Martin Maguire1, Sarah Turner1, Laura Guimarães2, Francisco
Arenas2
1Design School, Loughborough University (UNITED KINGDOM)
2Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR/CIMAR),
Universidade do Porto (PORTUGAL)
Abstract
Manifestations of climate change can be found in subtle shifts in environmental conditions, such as
sea level rise, melting glaciers or changing oceanic acidity due to atmospheric CO2 uptake. Over the
past two decades, a great deal of media production has focused on informing the public about
scientific discoveries about the health of the ocean and conveying the idea that it is essential to
understand and protect the ocean for the well-being of the planet. Better public understanding of the
ocean is an important part of resolving these complex and critical issues, since one of the
explanations is the public’s low level of concern about climate changes which results from a lack of
public understanding of the problem [1], [2]. Moreover, engaging learners in experiences focused on
the ocean helps them build personal correlations with the ocean and coasts, which motivate them to
become ocean literate and to act on behalf of the ocean [1], [3].
This paper analyses the knowledge about the ocean (or ocean literacy) of a sample of pupils in the UK
and in Portugal, as well as the pupils’ modes of gaining information about ocean-related topics by
using different media sources of information (such as TV, radio, computer, mobile platforms,
magazines, or books). It also examines which of these media are associated with higher levels of
ocean literacy. Moreover, the paper also aims to establish if there is any relationship between levels of
ocean literacy and feelings of personal responsibility and levels of ocean literacy and the importance
pupils attribute to the ocean.
The study uses quantitative methodology. The data were collected between March and October 2017
by means of an online survey administered to pupils who were studying science in years 7, 8, 9 (12-14
years) in six schools in Portugal and three schools in the UK. A total of 132 pupils responded the
survey in Portugal and 328 students responded the survey in UK. This study suggests that, regarding
the preferred source to get information about the ocean, the computer is clearly the preferred media,
while the radio is the least chosen option by pupils in both countries. Moreover, findings show there is
no significant association between the choice of media source and ocean literacy levels. The overall
results suggest that the more the pupils know about the ocean the more important is for them and the
more they feel personal responsibility for its well-being
Keywords: Pupils’ ocean literacy, information sources, education technology, ICT, secondary
education.
1 INTRODUCTION
In an effort to define ocean literacy, assess what the public knows about the ocean and redress the
lack of ocean-related content and national science education standards, instructional materials and
assessments, a group of scientists and educators in the United States drafted “The Essential
Principles and fundamental concepts of Ocean Sciences for learners of all ages”. These scientists
defined ocean literacy as “the understanding of the ocean's influence on you and your influence on the
ocean” and proposed 45 fundamental concepts organised in seven essential principles, which are
considered to correspond to the essential knowledge a citizen should have to be able to communicate
meaningfully and take informed decisions about the ocean [1]. Integrated into the educational practice,
this guide states that better public understanding of the ocean plays an important part in resolving
complex critical issues like decades of pollution, habitat degradation, overfishing, and now climate
change and ocean acidification. These ocean literacy principles and concepts have already been used
as a guiding framework for implementing ocean-focused curricula in the USA and in other countries. In
EU, Portugal has been a pioneer in this respect [1], [4] by adapting the principles to Portuguese
curricula followed at the time, within the scope of project Conhecer o Oceano [5]. In 2012, the
Proceedings of INTED2018 Conference
5th-7th March 2018, Valencia, Spain
ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7
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European Commission published the Horizon 2020 strategy which identified the ‘blue growth’, or the
sustainable use of the oceans, as a core societal challenge, not only in Europe but in other regions as
well [6]. Quality of life, employment, security and economic competitiveness all rely on the natural
capital of our ecosystems. However, according to Guest et al. [4], the health of the marine
environment continues to be threatened by human activity, despite the fact that the value of the ocean
has long been recognized. They argue for the need of a combination of top-down and bottom-up
approaches to ensure the sustainability of ocean resources. People's poor understanding of marine
science and ocean issues is identified as an obstacle to individual behaviour changes in many
countries. Guest et al. [4] also recognize that the low levels of understanding about ocean science are
evident among students in a number of countries, while there is 'growing awareness that formal
education curricula do not adequately communicate ocean science to young people'. This limited
knowledge has implications for pupils’ perceptions of the urgency to act, their support of public policy,
and awareness of the consequences of their own behaviours. Ocean Literacy UK, a consortium of
ocean scientists and educators supporting marine literacy in schools, also coordinated a response to
the National Curriculum in 2013 [7].
Daigle has argued for the need for greater public involvement: 'the only hope for further progress on
environmental protection and sustainable development lies with a public that is not only informed but
also engaged’ [8]. Similarly, the Report of the US Commission on Ocean Policy states: To
successfully address complex ocean - and coastal-related issues, balance the use and conservation
of marine resources, and realize future benefits of the ocean, an interested, engaged public is
essential. The public should be armed not only with the knowledge and skills needed to make
informed choices, but also with a sense of excitement[9]. It is within these contexts that the use of
information and communication technologies (ICTs) can create new opportunities and challenges
inside the education context. Furthermore, given the difficulty of understanding complex systems like
the ocean, the use of models, computer simulations and first-hand experiences could strongly
enhance learning and teaching in this area [1]. In fact, computer-based learning environments,
including interactive simulations, gamification applications, hypermedia, and virtual reality
environments, have already been used to facilitate and engage learning and thinking [10], [11], [12]
about, for example, complex systems such as the water and carbon cycle [3], [11].
Diverse ICTs can be integrated as a learning resource that could widen education opportunities and
enable the teaching/learning process to be more effective and engaging [12], [13]. Moreover, Tran [3]
states that some of the features of these technologies, such as immediate feedback, problem-solving
approaches and the acquisition of knowledge through exploration, action and experimentation (learn
by doing and learn by failing) can be more challenging and learning effective: ‘cyclic and feedback
thinking skills remained particularly challenging to develop the idea that one change can produce a
short-term effect that can equilibrate over time or that can then feedback to influence the change that
produced it’. Several case studies have highlighted the potential benefits of ICT-enabled systems and
have explored the integration of technologies in the classroom [14]. Furthermore, the literature has
demonstrated students' gains in activities where they used computer-based learning environments
(virtual models) [14]. These models ‘could make the invisible, abstract, and intangible elements of the
dynamic processes in complex systems visible, concrete, and tangible for students as they learn’ [3].
In this context, Kloper and al. [11] state that games and game-like applications ‘can provide an ideal
pathway into simulations for students, not only providing motivation and context for those who have
grown up playing games (which is approaching 100% of students) but also leveraging valuable
learning processes that are welcome in the classroom’.
The objectives of this study are to investigate pupils’ knowledge about the ocean; the sources from
which students get information about the ocean; the relationship between media sources of
information and levels of ocean literacy and, finally, the relationship between ocean literacy levels on
the one hand and personal responsibility and the importance that the ocean has for pupils on the other
hand. Although behind the detailed scope of the present investigation, it is believed that a greater
understanding of the marine environment is likely to lead citizens to feel responsibility to act on behalf
of the ocean [1], [4], [15]. This study forms part of a larger project which aims to investigate if mobile
game-like applications about ocean literacy could be an appropriate tool to assist learning and
teaching about the ocean [14].
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2 METHODOLOGY
Since survey research offers a quantitative or numeric description of trends or opinions [16], the study
adopted a quantitative methodology and employed an online survey for data collection. The survey
was developed with the collaborative effort of the Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental
Research (CIIMAR) in Portugal whose experts suggested the topics that were adequate to test among
the intended age range (12-14 years) and helped with the formulation of these questions. The survey
was piloted using a small sample of pupils in the UK.
The survey was administered during the IT labs to pupils who were studying science in years 7, 8, 9
(12 to 14 years) in six schools in the metropolitan area of Porto and in neighbouring districts and three
schools in the UK. A total of 132 pupils responded the survey in Portugal and 328 students responded
the survey in the UK. The data were collected between March and October 2017. The surveys were
anonymous and the only personal information collected was gender, age and location. Permission
was obtained from pupils and parents regarding the participation in the study to comply with research
ethics requirements.
For all findings reported in this paper, the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and
Permanova from PRIMER was used. The paper presents descriptive statistics about the investigated
topics. The existence of relationships between variables was assessed through correlations whose
significance was tested by means of the Spearman’s rho nonparametric test and linear models with
multiple predictors. Multiple choice on source of information about the ocean was compared between
countries using Permanova routines. Sources of differences were further examined using SIMPER
procedure from PRIMER.
3 RESULTS
The results are presented as follows: first, the pupils’ levels of ocean literacy inferred from their
answers to a series of multiple choice questions; second, the pupils’ modes of gaining information
about ocean-related topics by using different media sources of information (such as TV, radio,
computer, mobile platforms, magazines, or books); third the relationship between ocean literacy and
information sources; fourth the relationship between ocean literacy and the importance of the ocean
and the fifth the relationship between ocean literacy and pupils’ personal responsibility.
3.1 Pupils’ knowledge of ocean issues
A series of multiple-choice questions (13) concerning ocean issues were used to evaluate knowledge
holding by the pupils. These questions were developed by ocean science experts from CIIMAR, as
mentioned above. The number of correct answers given to the 13 questions concerning ocean literacy
represented the knowledge indicator. Question wording and percentages of correct answers are
provided in Table 1. Correct answers for each question are in bold font.
Table 1. Pupilsocean knowledge. Percentages of correct answers.
Ocean Quiz (correct answers are boldface)
% correct answers
PT
UK
What percentage of the Earth's surface is covered by the ocean? (30%; 50%; 70%; 90%;
Don’t know)
82,6%
87,2%
A whale is a... (Fish; Mammal; Both; Don’t know)
84,1%
91,5%
What are plankton? (Floating wood debris drifting in the ocean; A jelly-like substance
produced by whales; Small plants and animals that are drifting with the ocean
currents; A small fishing vessel; Don’t know)
81,8%
74,4%
What is the origin of the salt in seawater? (Salt pans; Erosion of rocks present on land
and sea; Decomposition of fish and other animals; Products resulting from the
photosynthesis of marine plants; Don’t know)
47,7%
68,9%
What is the depth of the deepest part of the ocean? (1,500 feet; 6,000 feet; 36,000 feet;
66,000 feet; Don’t know)
48,5%
61,3%
What is the extent of the ocean that is fully explored by humans? (less than 5%; 15%;
50%; We already explored the entire ocean; Don’t know)
19,7%
44,2%
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How much of the oxygen present in the atmosphere and that we breathe comes from the
ocean? (None; Between 10 to 25%; Between 50 to 70%; Between 70 to 90%; Between 90
to 100%; Don’t know)
34,8%
31,1%
Who produces the oxygen that comes from the ocean? (Trees; Seaweed; Fishes;
Decomposition of rocks and minerals; Don’t know)
79,5%
58,8%
What is eutrophication? (An ocean current that runs along the Atlantic Ocean; The process
of formation of calcareous structures of shells; Phenomenon caused by excess
nutrients in a mass of water; Process associated and related to photosynthesis; Don’t
know)
35,6%
30,8%
What causes the ocean to become acidic? (Acid rain; Degradation of marine waste; The
discharge of chemicals into the water; The carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere
and its dissolution and reaction with sea water; Don’t know)
18,2%
40,9%
What causes the tides? (The movement and rotation of the Earth; The winds that blow at
the surface of the ocean; The gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon; Ocean currents;
Don’t know)
31,8%
75,9%
What does the word 'bycatch' mean? (Fishing made with certain type of networks;
Overfishing; Climate event; Fish that are accidentally caught in fishing nets, and are
partially thrown back into the sea or are not traded; Don’t know)
45,5%
56,7%
What are 'oil slicks'? (An abnormal growth of algae that makes the water darker; Spillage
of oil or oil derivatives in the ocean; Places in the ocean where the water is very dark
due to debris suspended in water; Ocean currents of very cold water; Don’t know)
72%
76,8%
Most pupils provided correct answers for the first three questions (‘What percentage of the Earth's
surface is covered by the ocean?’; ‘A whale is a...’; ‘What are plankton?’), while the questions with the
lowest percent of correct answers concerned ‘eutrophication’ and ‘how much of the oxygen present in
the atmosphere and that we breathe comes from the ocean’. Findings show that pupils in UK had
more difficulty in the questions related to the amount of oxygen that comes from the ocean and to
eutrophication, while pupils in Portugal presented more difficulties in the causes of ocean acidification
and in knowing the extension of the ocean that is fully explored by humans.
Although the findings highlight some differences between Portugal and UK, results show that four
questions had large numbers of wrong answers in both countries. Pupils generally held low levels of
knowledge about topics as eutrophication, the quantity of the oxygen present in the atmosphere and
that we breathe that comes from the ocean, what causes the ocean to become acidic and the extent of
the ocean that is fully explored by humans. Table 2 presents a summary index of wrong answers for
these four questions.
Table 2. Questions with few correct scores.
Wrong answer
67,83%
67,83%
65,65%
62,83%
As stated by Steel et al. [15], it is certainly encouraging to discover that pupils have knowledge about
some important issues, but at the same time it is clear that there is considerable room for
improvement in the field of ocean literacy.
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3.2 Sources of information about the ocean
In addition to assessing the level of ocean literacy among the pupils, these were asked the following
question: ‘If you were doing a project about the ocean, which sources of information are you most
likely to use to get your information?’. Six different information sources were included as a multiple-
choice grid: television, radio, computer, mobile platforms (phones or tablets), magazines and books
(see Figure 1). Respondents were asked to put them in their order of preference from 1 to 6, where 1
meant most important and 6 meant least important.
Multivariate permutational analysis of variance detected significant differences between the
preferences expressed by Portugal and UK pupils (PERMANOVA, Pesudo-F1,458: 2.657, p: 0.036).
Findings clearly indicate that the computer is the preferred medium, while the radio is the least chosen
option by pupils in both countries. The differences are found in the secondary choices (SIMPER
analyses). In Portugal, the second and third preferred sources are the books and, very close, in the
fourth option, are the mobile platforms. The fifth option are the magazines and the sixth option is the
radio. As the preferred source to get information about the ocean, respondents in UK place in second
the mobile platforms while in the third and fourth options television and in fifth the magazines, as in
Portugal. Similarly to the Portuguese findings, magazines were chosen in fifth place as the media
source to get information about the ocean. One of the possible reasons for these preferences could be
the interactivity inherent to computers and mobile devices, allowing pupils to proactively use them to
look for information. However, the TV and the radio are passive, therefore pupils would have to wait
until a suitable programme was broadcast. This might be one factor why these latter media are ranked
lower in the survey.
Figure 1. Media sources preferences to get information about the ocean.
3.3 Relationship between ocean literacy and information sources
Another aim was to understand if there existed any relationship between the information sources the
pupils tended to use to learn about ocean issues and the levels of ocean literacy. The six different
information sources were included in a bivariate model (see table 3).
In a nonparametric approach to the correlation between the several sets of choices made by the same
individuals, each set was ranked in order of magnitude. Spearman’s rho nonparametric correlation
coefficient revealed no significant correlation (p > 0.05) between the preferred media sources and the
pupils higher scores, therefore there is apparently no significant association between the choice of
media source on ocean literacy levels.
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Table 3. Correlations between the media sources and ocean literacy.
Quiz Scores
PT
(N=132)
UK
(N=328)
Spearman's rho
TV
Correlation Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed)
.109
.212
-.071
.197
Radio
Correlation Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed)
.004
.960
.019
.735
Computer
Correlation Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed)
.021
.814
-.096
.082
Mobile Platforms
Correlation Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed)
-.101
.247
.025
.656
Magazines
Correlation Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed)
.030
.734
.014
.804
Books
Correlation Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed)
-.051
.562
.084
.130
3.4 Relationship between ocean literacy and the importance of the ocean
In order to investigate the importance of the ocean for the pupils, these were asked ‘How important is
the ocean to you?’ (1-5 Likert scale, 1 - Not at all important, 5 - Extremely important). The results (see
Figure 2) suggest that in both countries a high percentage of pupils considered the ocean very
important and extremely important (UK=58,8%, PT=77,3%). They explained this importance by
indicating mainly environmental reasons and, in a lesser measure, recreational and economic
reasons.
Then, to understand if there was any relationship between the perceived importance of the ocean and
the ocean knowledge of the pupils, we also used a linear model including as predictors the score in
ocean literacy and country. Results emphasize that the higher levels of ocean literacy, the higher the
importance attributed to the ocean. Moreover, the significant effect of country resulted from a higher
importance attributed to the ocean by the Portuguese pupil compared to the UK (see Table 4).
Figure 2. How important is the ocean for you?
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Table 4. Linear model on the effect of ocean literacy and country on the perceived importance
of oceans to the pupils.
Predictor
Estimate
SE
MS
F
Pr (>F)
Ocean literacy
0.007
0.002
11.55
12.48
0.0004***
Country
0.006
0.339
21.78
23.53
<0.0001***
Score x Country
-0.003
0.002
2.15
2.33
0.127
***. Predictor significant at the 0.001 level.
3.5 Relationship between ocean literacy and pupils’ personal responsibility
Lastly, we asked pupils ‘How much personal responsibility do you feel to protect the ocean?’ (1-5
Likert scale, 1 - No responsibility, 5 - A lot of responsibility). Findings show that around 75% of the
Portuguese pupils considered that they feel significant and a lot of responsibility to protect the ocean,
compared to just almost 40% of the UK pupils (see Figure 3). Most of the UK pupils feel they have
moderate responsibility (37,5%).
Statistical analyses showed similar results to the previous relationship examined with positive effects
of the ocean literacy attitudes and significant differences between countries. Portuguese pupils had
higher scores in personal responsibility to the ocean (see Table 5).
Figure 3. Personal responsibility.
Table 5. Linear model on the effect of ocean literacy score and country
on the personal responsibility of pupils.
Predictor
Estimate
SE
MS
F
Pr (>F)
Ocean literacy
0.002
0.002
5.42
5.2032
0.0230*
Country
-1.264
0.360
67.87
65.1031
<0.001***
Score x Country
-0.003
0.003
1.42
1.3604
0.244
* Predictor significant at the 0.05 level, ***. Predictor significant at the 0.001 level.
4 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
Despite its intrinsic and extrinsic values, the ocean is now presenting significant signs of change as a
consequence of human activities [4]. Education plays a key role in improving ocean literacy, ensuring
critical thinking, citizenship skills and democratic attitudes and values. Although informal environments
designed for learning about science and the physical and natural world (zoos, aquariums, nature
centres, museums, and science centres), as well as outdoors settings (public places, parks, marine
sanctuaries, and marine protected areas, and the ocean itself), may promote ocean literacy, the formal
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educational environment is fundamental, since these institutions may not be easily accessed by
everyone. Moreover, as stated by Pew Ocean Commission ‘We must prepare today’s children to be
tomorrow’s ocean stewards’ [17].
Guest et al. [4] conducted a study to assess the level of ocean knowledge of public school students
grade 712 (ages 1218) in Nova Scotia, Canada. A survey was used in 11 public schools, with a total
of 723 students participating in a quiz. Many quiz questions were aligned with the ‘Ocean Literacy
Principles’ established by the Ocean Literacy Campaign. The scores were below 50%, suggesting that
young Nova Scotians do not have a strong comprehension of many key ocean science concepts. The
authors reported that ‘this finding adds to a growing number of studies that have discovered generally
low levels of ocean awareness among youth and adults in Canada, the United States, the UK, South
Africa, New Zealand, and the Netherlands’.
In another study Corner et al. [18] aimed to evaluate the awareness, knowledge and concern with
ocean acidification in the UK by conducting two online representative surveys of the British public. The
study found that only around 1 in 5 participants stated that they had ever heard of ocean acidification.
Among those who said they had heard of it, levels of self-reported knowledge about the subject were
very low. Of those respondents who reported being aware of ocean acidification, only around a half
said they had encountered any information about it, and for those who reported encountering
information, this was primarily via TV News or science programmes. Educational means, social media
and internet science websites came last. The authors stated that the results pointed to a clear need to
further engage members of the public in innovative ways about this important environmental risk issue
and suggested that if people were to be given further information about ocean acidification, this would
raise the levels of concern about the subject.
Based on the assumption that knowledge is essential to understand the implications of policy
alternatives, which can be a source of substantial influence in moving citizens to take political action,
Steel et al. [15] conducted a study with more than 3000 Pacific Northwest US citizens to investigate
their level of policy-relevant knowledge concerning ocean management issues and to determine which
information sources were associated with higher levels of policy-relevant knowledge related to the
ocean. Regarding the level of knowledge, the authors concluded that the glass was both half empty
and half full. There was a widespread familiarity with many ocean terms, but also little familiarity with
terms such as ‘nonpoint source pollution’ or ‘exclusive economic zone’. The public provided correct
responses for questions dealing with factors affecting ocean fisheries and the concept of ocean
upwelling, but was less knowledgeable about, for example, the dispersion of sea life in the ocean, and
the concept of ‘by-catch’. The authors reported, as previous research has shown, that the frequent use
of television as an information source has a negative effect on public knowledge about ocean issues.
The use of the radio had no significant effect, while frequent use of the Internet had a positive and
significant effect on the level of familiarity with several specific terms and concepts commonly
encountered in the discussion of coastal and ocean management aspects. Consistent with other
research on public knowledge levels, the authors found that the frequent use of newspapers for
information was significantly and positively related to higher levels of knowledge. In sum, their findings
concluded that the use of certain information sources can contribute to knowledge, while others
adversely impact knowledge levels. To date, no research has been found to examine correlations
between mobile platforms use and levels of knowledge about the ocean.
This study has revealed the pupils’ low levels of knowledge about topics such as eutrophication, the
importance of the ocean for the planet’s supply of oxygen, the causes of ocean acidification and the
extent of human exploration of the ocean. These findings show that there is still space for
improvement regarding ocean literacy, although the results are less negative than those showed in
Jefferson et al’ study conducted in the UK [19], or in a report in Portugal [20]. The findings generally
align with the literature mentioned above, which suggested a poor understanding of the ocean by the
public. One of the possible reasons could be the lack of ocean science in schools, since the school
curriculum presents a terrestrial bias in science, leading to a situation where younger generations are
more equipped to comprehend terrestrial than marine environmental issues [7], [21]. A bottom-up
approach is necessary to promote ocean science in formal education. To learn about the ocean, the
computer was found to be the preferred media by the pupils in this study, while the radio is the least
chosen option by pupils in both countries. Mobile platforms in the UK come second, while in Portugal
pupils chose books in this place. This reinforces previous findings which suggest that the UK is ahead
of Portugal in integrating mobile technologies in teaching and learning [14]. No association has been
found between choice of sources of information and levels of ocean literacy, although other studies
have reported different outcomes following the use of different media sources. As stated by Steel et al.
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[15], it would appear that all the media sources can either inform or misinform the pupils. Computer-
based learning environments have been found to help develop pupilsthinking skills needed to
understand the ocean. Furthermore, digital technologies have the potential to virtually bring the pupils
and the ocean closer and to make some of the complex interactions visible to the human eye [3].
Regarding the importance of the ocean and the personal responsibility perceived by the pupils, the
findings suggest that in both countries a high percentage of pupils consider the ocean very important
and extremely important. Moreover, the higher the levels of ocean literacy, the higher the importance
attributed to the ocean; however, a significantly higher importance was attributed to the ocean by the
Portuguese pupils compared to the UK pupils. Furthermore, the Portuguese pupils feel considerably
more responsibility to protect the ocean than the English pupils. When looking at relationships
between the personal responsibility for the ocean and pupils’ knowledge of the ocean, the statistical
analyses showed similar results to the previously mentioned relationship, with positive effects of the
ocean literacy attitudes and significant differences between countries. These overall results align with
the literature, which suggests that the more the pupils know about the ocean the more important this
latter is for them and the more they feel personal responsibility for its well-being [1], [4], [15]. A
possible implication is that, when getting children to engage with a school topic, doing some practical
exercises could help reinforce their knowledge. This will be improved further if the learning experience
occurred over a period of time. Therefore, an educational application about the ocean using
gamification to encourage continued use could be effective. This topic will be taken up in further
research.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This research was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council Design Star CDT
(AH/L503770/1).
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... The triptych of knowledge, pro-environmental attitudes and behaviour has been shown to improve environmental protection by both adults and children (e.g., Hynes et al., 2014;Hartley et al., 2015). However, the available literature regarding pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours towards the ocean, especially those of students, has only lately shown signs of real growth (Leitão et al., 2018;Ashley et al., 2019;Sakurai et al., 2019). Moreover, the knowledge that students have appears to be affected erroneously by misconceptions, with predictable effects on their attitudes and behaviours. ...
... The Ocean Literacy (OL) framework consists of two documents: a) the fundamental issues that high school graduates should know and understand about the ocean (NOAA, 2013), and b) a guide as to what students should be taught and learn in different grade bands for achieving a full understanding of the OL principles and concepts (NMEA, 2010). Due to the relative novelty of this context, studies investigating knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour of elementary and secondary school students concerning the OL framework have only recently been increasing (Plankis & Marrero, 2010;Fauville et al., 2018;Leitão et al., 2018;Niedoszytko et al., 2018;Tsai & Chang, 2018;Chang, 2019;Cheimonopoulou et al., 2019a, b;Mogias et al., 2019;Tsai, 2019;Realdon et al., 2019;Mokos et al., 2020b). ...
... In the present study, middle school students from more than 40 coastal and non-coastal locations of eight Mediterranean countries (i.e., Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain and Turkey) were found to possess a moderate level of ocean sciences content knowledge. These results seem to be in line with studies from other countries worldwide (United States, Canada, Portugal, Japan, Taiwan) focusing on similar school grades (Plankis & Marrero, 2010;Guest et al., 2015;Leitão et al., 2018;Sakurai et al., 2019;Lin et al., 2020). ...
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The Mediterranean Sea is characterized by rich biodiversity, and its region hosts people living in several countries with a rich variety of cultures, but-at the same time-it is "under siege", due to anthropogenic pressures. To address these pressures, many actions are needed aiming, among others, at establishing Ocean Literacy (OL) across the Mediterranean countries and preparing the future generation of Mediterranean Sea-literate citizens. Towards this aim, the present cross-national study investigated OL issues in relation to content knowledge, possible common misconceptions, attitudes, and the self-reported behaviour of 2,533 middle school students from eight Mediterranean countries (Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain and Turkey), as well as certain background elements (e.g., gender, grade level, environmental education experience, sources of relevant information). The results of this study revealed that middle school students of all studied countries possess a moderate level of ocean sciences content knowledge, while they showed satisfactory pro-environmental attitudes and behaviour. These findings along with further research are expected to function as a baseline for the design, implementation, and launch of specifically targeted programmes, educational activities, teaching resources, curricula and school textbooks, which will be achieved through close collaboration between schools, universities, research institutes, and Ministries of Education, thus contributing to the future protection and sustainable development of the Mediterranean Sea region.
... The triptych of knowledge, pro-environmental attitudes and behaviour has been shown to improve environmental protection by both adults and children (e.g., Hynes et al., 2014;Hartley et al., 2015). However, the available literature regarding pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours towards the ocean, especially those of students, has only lately shown signs of real growth (Leitão et al., 2018;Ashley et al., 2019;Sakurai et al., 2019). Moreover, the knowledge that students have appears to be affected erroneously by misconceptions, with predictable effects on their attitudes and behaviours. ...
... The Ocean Literacy (OL) framework consists of two documents: a) the fundamental issues that high school graduates should know and understand about the ocean (NOAA, 2013), and b) a guide as to what students should be taught and learn in different grade bands for achieving a full understanding of the OL principles and concepts (NMEA, 2010). Due to the relative novelty of this context, studies investigating knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour of elementary and secondary school students concerning the OL framework have only recently been increasing (Plankis & Marrero, 2010;Fauville et al., 2018;Leitão et al., 2018;Niedoszytko et al., 2018;Tsai & Chang, 2018;Chang, 2019;Cheimonopoulou et al., 2019a, b;Mogias et al., 2019;Tsai, 2019;Realdon et al., 2019;Mokos et al., 2020b). ...
... In the present study, middle school students from more than 40 coastal and non-coastal locations of eight Mediterranean countries (i.e., Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain and Turkey) were found to possess a moderate level of ocean sciences content knowledge. These results seem to be in line with studies from other countries worldwide (United States, Canada, Portugal, Japan, Taiwan) focusing on similar school grades (Plankis & Marrero, 2010;Guest et al., 2015;Leitão et al., 2018;Sakurai et al., 2019;Lin et al., 2020). ...
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The Mediterranean Sea is characterized by rich biodiversity, and its region hosts people living in several countries with a rich variety of cultures, but-at the same time-it is "under siege", due to anthropogenic pressures. To address these pressures, many actions are needed aiming, among others, at establishing Ocean Literacy (OL) across the Mediterranean countries and preparing the future generation of Mediterranean Sea-literate citizens. Towards this aim, the present cross-national study investigated OL issues in relation to content knowledge, possible common misconceptions, attitudes, and the self-reported behaviour of 2,533 middle school students from eight Mediterranean countries (Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain and Turkey), as well as certain background elements (e.g., gender, grade level, environmental education experience, sources of relevant information). The results of this study revealed that middle school students of all studied countries possess a moderate level of ocean sciences content knowledge, while they showed satisfactory pro-environmental attitudes and behaviour. These findings along with further research are expected to function as a baseline for the design, implementation, and launch of specifically targeted programmes, educational activities, teaching resources, curricula and school textbooks, which will be achieved through close collaboration between schools, universities, research institutes, and Ministries of Education, thus contributing to the future protection and sustainable development of the Mediterranean Sea region.
... The section closes with the integration of theoretical models into the educational software design process. Aspects of this chapter, in part verbatim, are published in (Leitão et al., 2019c(Leitão et al., , 2018a(Leitão et al., , 2017). ...
... By ignoring these mountains of waste, we are creating a massive problem at the heart of our environmental crisis (Falasca-Zamponi, 2010). The literature exposed low levels of understanding of ocean-related topics among the citizens from several countries (Winks et al., 2020;Ankamah-Yeboah et al., 2020;Fauville et al., 2019;Leitão et al., 2018a;Costa & Caldeira, 2018;Papathanassiou et al., 2017;Guest et al., 2015;Corner et al., 2014;Tran, 2009). The lack of these scientific concepts do not allow us to make conscious personal and societal decisions about environmental issues (Marrero & Mensah, 2010). ...
... These findings support the Case Study 2 results (see Section 4.2.5) (Leitão et al., 2018a), where significantly higher importance and more responsibility was attributed to the ocean by the Portuguese pupils compared to the UK pupils. Furthermore, identified regulation overall results suggest that in both countries a high percentage of pupils consider the ocean topics personally important, reinforcing the case study 2 findings. ...
... Several studies on marine education and related topics have been addressed by numerous surveys carried out among students (Lin et al. 2020;Tsai 2019;Guest, Lotze, and Wallace 2015;Plankis and Marrero 2012) and teachers (Hartley et al. 2018;Dromgool-Regan, Burke, and McClouglin 2017). The literature has revealed a knowledge gap about ocean science-related topics in several countries (Winks et al. 2020;Ankamah-Yeboah et al. 2020;Fauville et al. 2019;Leitão et al. 2018;Costa and Caldeira 2018;Papathanassiou et al. 2017;Guest, Lotze, and Wallace 2015;Corner, Capstick, and Pidgeon 2014). Yet many people are not aware of the impact of the ocean on their lives (Pantò 2019;Frick, Kaiser, and Wilson 2004) and there is little understanding of marine environmental issues and protection ). ...
... Through a participatory design approach, a gamified Ocean Literacy mobile application was developed combining the findings from previous studies: platforms and skills (Leitão, Turner, and Maguire 2017), learning outcomes (Leitão et al. 2018), learner-centred (Leitão, Maguire, and Turner 2019b), and game effects on different levels of motivation (Leitão, Turner, and Maguire 2019c). The research tool application consisted of a recycling game where the player recycles items falling from the top of the screen into the appropriate recycling bin. ...
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Low levels of concern about anthropogenic climate change have been attributed to a range of factors, some of which relate to education. These include people’s lack of understanding and engagement with the multifaceted nature and extent of the problem that it presents to current and future generations. Limited knowledge is also known to be an obstacle to individual behaviour change, with important implications for young people’s perceptions of the urgency to act and awareness of the consequences of their own behaviours. In this study, we explored ways to address low levels of understanding about ocean science dimensions to climate change phenomena, cognisant of a growing awareness that formal education curricula do not adequately engage young people with developing ocean literacy. Participants were a sample of secondary school students (11 to 14 years) in Portugal and the UK. Using a gamified mobile application, it was examined relationships between the use of different game elements such as points, badges and leaderboards, and learning outcomes. Systematic evaluation of each element shows how different game features affected the participants’ learning experience and learning outcomes. Implications for formal and informal marine education, climate education, and how to improve ocean literacy efforts, are also discussed.
... However, the Portuguese students already started with very high identified regulation values, compared to the UK students (Tables 2 and 3). These findings support a previous study (Leitão et al., 2018), where significantly higher importance and more responsibility was attributed to the ocean by the Portuguese students compared to the UK students. Furthermore, identified regulation overall results suggest that in both countries a high percentage of students consider these ocean topics personally important, reinforcing the previous findings (Leitão et al., 2018). ...
... These findings support a previous study (Leitão et al., 2018), where significantly higher importance and more responsibility was attributed to the ocean by the Portuguese students compared to the UK students. Furthermore, identified regulation overall results suggest that in both countries a high percentage of students consider these ocean topics personally important, reinforcing the previous findings (Leitão et al., 2018). The game element leaderboard and the PBL triad increased all levels of motivation in both samples, except in the amotivation level. ...
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Motivation theory is indispensable when discussing processes of learning. Learners who are motivated can learn almost everything. Students' motivation is probably one of the most important factors for teacher effectiveness both for engagement in the learning process and high academic performance. To have effective environmental education, it is not only necessary to inform the public about the ocean but also to involve and engage them is essential. Motivation and engagement are some of the most commonly mentioned concepts in gamification, thus, a gamified application seems to have the necessary features to improve the motivation of students in the learning context of Ocean Literacy topics. The main aims of this work were: i) to understand through a systematic evaluation, how game elements affect the different motivation layers; and ii) to compare them in terms of enhancing the motivation to recycle among secondary school students (11-14 years). To measure students' motivation, a pre-test and a post-test using a recycling situational motivation survey were administered in a classroom environment in Portugal and the UK. Findings show a trend regarding the effect of game elements mainly on the most autonomous forms of motivation. The different game elements, each one with different degrees of effects, were shown to have potential to increase motivation.
... The promotion of ocean literacy related topics in schools is the starting point to develop a more ocean literate society McCauley et al., 2021). However, recent studies have shown that K-12 students' level of ocean literacy is often moderate to low (Brody, 1996;Ballantyne, 2004;Guest et al., 2015;Uyarra and Borja, 2016;Leitão et al., 2018;Mogias et al., 2019;Leitão et al., 2022). According to Strang et al. (2007), the science being taught in schools is generally terrestrially-biased, but to be fully science literate, one must be ocean literate and understand unique aspects of the functioning of the ocean (Fauville, 2019). ...
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Globally, ocean health has become critically compromised due to compounding negative human impacts. Marine science education can play a key role in raising collective understanding of the vulnerability of marine environments and the importance of their protection, and this may best begin with integration of ocean literacy in schools. Previous research shows that K-12 students worldwide have a limited understanding of the ocean. This lack of familiarity with the ocean has been linked to the absence of topics related to marine science in most national school curricula. Teachers are the ultimate arbiters deciding whether and how to include these topics in their classes. However, the extent to which marine science may be currently being taught in formal education is still unknown. We used the Australian public school system as a case study to investigate the marine science teaching practices of primary school teachers (Foundation – Grade 6), through an online survey. Our results indicate that while teachers value the importance of ocean education from a young age, most of them rarely or only occasionally cover marine science topics in their lessons. Teachers cited increased levels of marine science knowledge and a greater availability of ocean-related educational resources linked to the school curriculum as key areas for improvement in ocean education practices. This study highlights the importance of formal marine science education in primary education, along with the need for professional development opportunities for teachers.
... The promotion of ocean literacy related topics in schools is the starting point to develop a more ocean literate society McCauley et al., 2021). However, recent studies have shown that K-12 students' level of ocean literacy is often moderate to low (Brody, 1996;Ballantyne, 2004;Guest et al., 2015;Uyarra and Borja, 2016;Leitão et al., 2018;Mogias et al., 2019;Leitão et al., 2022). According to Strang et al. (2007), the science being taught in schools is generally terrestrially-biased, but to be fully science literate, one must be ocean literate and understand unique aspects of the functioning of the ocean (Fauville, 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
Globally, ocean health has become critically compromised due to compounding negative human impacts. Marine science education can play a key role in raising collective understanding of the vulnerability of marine environments and the importance of their protection, and this may best begin with integration of ocean literacy in schools. Previous research shows that K-12 students worldwide have a limited understanding of the ocean. This lack of familiarity with the ocean has been linked to the absence of topics related to marine science in most national school curricula. Teachers are the ultimate arbiters deciding whether and how to include these topics in their classes. However, the extent to which marine science may be currently being taught in formal education is still unknown. We used the Australian public school system as a case study to investigate the marine science teaching practices of primary school teachers (Foundation – Grade 6), through an online survey. Our results indicate that while teachers value the importance of ocean education from a young age, most of them rarely or only occasionally cover marine science topics in their lessons. Teachers cited increased levels of marine science knowledge and a greater availability of ocean-related educational resources linked to the school curriculum as key areas for improvement in ocean education practices. This study highlights the importance of formal marine science education in primary education, along with the need for professional development opportunities for teachers.
... Up to now, similar previous studies have been focused only on general ocean sciences issues in several Mediterranean countries (e.g., Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain, Turkey). Results of these studies have revealed a moderate level of content knowledge of students of different education levels from primary to tertiary education (Mogias et al., 2015Cheimonopoulou et al., 2019a, b;Realdon et al., 2019a, b;Mokos et al., 2020a;Koulouri et al., 2021c, d;, while similar results have also been found in studies from other countries worldwide (i.e., United States, Canada, Portugal, Japan, Taiwan) (Plankis & Marrero, 2010; Chen & Tsai, 2015; Danielson & Tanner, 2015;Guest et al., 2015;Umuhire & Fang, 2016;Leitão et al., 2018;Sakurai et al., 2019;Lin et al., 2020). ...
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The Mediterranean Sea is recognized as a key component in the development, economy, and culture of European, North African, and Middle East countries. With respect to heterogeneity across the region in different sectors, Ocean Literacy, though still in its infancy, is nevertheless a requisite for a better understanding of the two-way interaction between the Sea and its people. In the present study, marine issues in relation to the content knowledge of 154 high school students from the Mediterranean region were investigated by using a structured questionnaire based on the recently published Mediterranean Sea Literacy guide. Data analysis involved descriptive statistics to portray frequencies and knowledge scores of the participants, and inferential statistics to assess the effects of grade level on students’ knowledge. The study which focused for the first time on the unique features of the Mediterranean marine ecosystems, found the level of content knowledge of the participants to be low to moderate. It is therefore of the utmost importance for the organizations and networks working on marine issues in the Mediterranean Sea to develop synergies and coordinate research programmes to broaden engagement with human societies in the region.
... Up to now, similar previous studies have been focused only on general ocean sciences issues in several Mediterranean countries (e.g., Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain, Turkey). Results of these studies have revealed a moderate level of content knowledge of students of different education levels from primary to tertiary education (Mogias et al., 2015Cheimonopoulou et al., 2019a, b;Realdon et al., 2019a, b;Mokos et al., 2020a;Koulouri et al., 2021c, d;, while similar results have also been found in studies from other countries worldwide (i.e., United States, Canada, Portugal, Japan, Taiwan) (Plankis & Marrero, 2010; Chen & Tsai, 2015; Danielson & Tanner, 2015;Guest et al., 2015;Umuhire & Fang, 2016;Leitão et al., 2018;Sakurai et al., 2019;Lin et al., 2020). ...
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Full-text available
The Mediterranean Sea is recognized as a key component in the development, economy, and culture of European, North African , and Middle East countries. With respect to heterogeneity across the region in different sectors, Ocean Literacy, though still in its infancy, is nevertheless a requisite for a better understanding of the two-way interaction between the Sea and its people. In the present study, marine issues in relation to the content knowledge of 154 high school students from the Mediterranean region were investigated by using a structured questionnaire based on the recently published Mediterranean Sea Literacy guide. Data analysis involved descriptive statistics to portray frequencies and knowledge scores of the participants, and inferential statistics to assess the effects of grade level on students' knowledge. The study which focused for the first time on the unique features of the Medi-terranean marine ecosystems, found the level of content knowledge of the participants to be low to moderate. It is therefore of the utmost importance for the organizations and networks working on marine issues in the Mediterranean Sea to develop synergies and coordinate research programmes to broaden engagement with human societies in the region.
... The bibliometric analysis of ocean literacy of Costa and Caldeira [29] evidences the low number of studies in Portugal. Following the few studies on OEL in Portugal [30] and including Portugal [25], and in the context of an educational and communication initiative on Diadromous (Anadromous) species in the Minho River Estuary and local fishing communities [1,2], a two-year intervention was developed. This study is integrated in a larger project in the region-The Cooperminho-and is aimed at investigating the impacts of that intervention in the literacy of Middle School students regarding fish ecology and conservation. ...
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This study aims at evaluating the environmental education (EE) and communication intervention for the valorization of migratory fish resources in an estuary of northern Portugal. The EE component intervention was implemented among Middle School pupils of that region. Students’ knowledge was quantitatively evaluated with an experimental approach of pre-testing and post-testing, on the ocean and estuarine literacy (OEL) and biology of migratory species, such as sea lamprey. This study also analyzes the communication component developed via social media. Results of the EE component show an evident increment of OEL (p < 0.05). It is also highlighted that students had previous knowledge on issues that are not covered in the curriculum. Social media has shown to be an effective communication tool mostly among the scientific community (e.g., Ethnobiology). The research has various implications to OEL since it brings a new perspective towards the integration of ocean literacy in formal education; as well as the valorization of Students’ local ecological knowledge and of inter-generational dynamics. This study contributed to promoting local biodiversity, OEL, and participatory local governance of these ecosystems. Keywords: ocean and estuarine literacy; migratory fishing species; Minho River Estuary
Conference Paper
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As mobile technology develops, it creates new opportunities for enhancing the learning and teaching experience. In this paper, the results of a comparative study between two countries (Portugal and UK) will be described, regarding the relationship between technologies and the teaching-learning process in science. Specifically, the paper investigates the pupils' relationship with mobile technologies, including for learning purposes. At the same time, it aims to understand the use of mobile platforms and applications by teachers, including their use in classroom activities. The study uses a quantitative methodology. The data were collected by means of an online survey administered to pupils who were studying science in years 7, 8, 9 (12 to 14 years) and to teachers in six schools in Portugal and three schools in the UK. A total of 131 pupils and 17 teachers responded the survey in Portugal and 170 students and 13 teachers responded the survey in the UK. Findings shows that half (53.3%) of Portuguese teachers stated that they didn't use any mobile platforms in class for teaching and learning purposes, compared to none of the teachers in the UK. Almost half of the UK teachers stated that they used both smartphone and tablets in class and 40% used the tablet only. In Portugal, only 13,3% of the teachers used both, while 6,7% only used the tablet. Moreover, findings show that almost 88% of the Portuguese pupils considered it was easy or very easy, compared to just under 70% of the UK pupils, to find the information they are looking for through a mobile platform. These overall results suggest that the teaching/learning context could be favourable to the use of these technologies, although with some noteworthy differences between the two countries regarding the integration of mobile platforms in the teaching and learning context.
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In teaching, the use of virtual and augmented reality has been on the rise, exploring different means of interaction and student engagement. Based on constructivist pedagogic principles, augmented reality pretends to provide the learner/user with effective access to information through real-time immersive experiences. Game-based learning is one of the approaches that have received growing interest. This paper presents the development of a game in a teaching and learning context, aiming to help students acquire knowledge in the field of geometry. The game was intended to develop the following competences in primary school learners (8-10 years): a better visualization of geometric objects on a plane and in space; understanding of the properties of geometric solids; and familiarization with the vocabulary of geometry. The authors will show that by using the game students have improved around 35% the hits of correct responses to the classification and differentiation between edge, vertex and face in 3D solids.
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Knowledge is commonly seen as a necessary precondition for a person’s behavior. Consistent with this, most educational interventions rely on knowledge transfer. However, for the most efficient informational strategies for education, it is essential that we identify the types of knowledge that promote behavior effectively and investigate their structure. A questionnaire consisting of three environmental knowledge scales and a conservation behavior measure was sent to 5000 randomly selected Swiss adults. A completed questionnaire was returned by 55% of them (N=2736). A series of structural equation analyses indicates that the three knowledge forms exert different influences on conservation behavior: Action-related knowledge and effectiveness knowledge have a direct effect on performance. In contrast, system knowledge is more remote from behavior, exerting only a mediated influence on it by way of affecting the other two knowledge types.
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Because everyday citizens and nonexpert stakeholders are either directly or indirectly involved in ocean health restoration plans and engage in activities that may place fisheries at risk, it is important to understand the scope and depth of their policy-relevant knowledge. Using a mail survey of more than 3000 Pacific Northwest U.S. citizens, we investigated levels of coastal and ocean policy-relevant knowledge, information sources associated with higher levels of policy-relevant knowledge, and relationships between knowledge and support for Pacific fisheries restoration. We found that citizens knowledgeable about ocean conditions were most supportive of ocean and coastal protection; that somewhat malleable situational factors are important predictors of knowledge; and that some sources of information are more directly connected to knowledge than others. This study concludes that public knowledge is a critical component of support for ocean and coastal management and that there are effective means for enhancing public knowledge.
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Information and communication technology (ICT) has become, within a very short time, one of the basic building blocks of modern society. Many countries now understanding the importance of ICT and mastering the basic skills and concepts of it as part of the core of education. Organizations, experts and practitioners in the education sector increasingly recognizing the importance of ICT in supporting educational improvement and reform. This paper addresses the convergence of ICT and education. When two technologies are converging to each other, together they will generate some great opportunities and challenges. This paper focuses on these issues. In introduction section, it explains the ICT, education, and ICT-enhanced education. In next section it describes need of ICT in education, relationship between ICT skills and education, and stages of teaching learning process. The next two sections describe opportunities and challenges in integrating ICT in education. Finally the concluding section summaries the idea and its usefulness. Keywords—Education, Information and Communication Technology, Learning, Teaching.