Students from around Australia and the United States are exploring the virtual world of science education after an announcement by Australia’s Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth the Hon Peter Garrett AM MP.
Charles Darwin University Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods Director, Professor Andrew Campbell is co-leader of an online program designed to raise student awareness and knowledge of the sustainability of water resources.
“The way we use and look after water will essentially determine the success of human civilisation in the centuries to come,” Professor Campbell said.
“Freshwater availability per capita around the world is declining quite steeply, and the onus is on us and the future generation to be smarter in how we use water and preserve natural wetlands and waterways.”
Entitled USAUS H2O Virtual Environmental Partnership, the program is a partnership between the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) in the United States and CDU.
“It is great to be working with our good friends and colleagues Dr Judy O’Neil and Professor Bill Dennison and their team from one of the world’s best science integration labs on this very exciting program,” he said.
Professor Campbell said the US-AUS H2O Virtual Environmental Partnership program would link eight teams of secondary school students in Australia with eight from the United States (paired in similar climatic zones) in an online collaborative program.
“This virtual partnership is structured around online interactive modules aimed at helping students understand where the water they use every day comes from, how it is used, and where it goes,” he said.
“Students will complete the series of modules by making recommendations on how they think water can be managed more sustainably in their local region and then compare, review and learn from each other. The teams will work within a common conceptual framework entitled How Sustainable is Your Water Cycle, developed by our colleagues at the University of Maryland.”
The partnership was launched in Canberra as part of World Water Day (Friday, 22 March) by U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich and Australia’s Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP.
For more information on the US-AUS H2O Virtual Environmental Partnership visit: http://www.usaus-h2o.org/.