The Multilingual Nature Explorers
Language Learning for Social Purposes
With the aim to raise awareness on environmental issues and multilingualism, 5 university students created a variety of interactive educational activities to inspire students so as to uptake an active role in sustainable lifestyle.
Team: The Multilingual Nature Explorers
Team membersAnastasia Vasileiou, Stelina Tsoukareli, Sofia Natsiou, Eirini Poursanidou, Katerina Karageorgiou
Members roles and background
We all worked as a team to gather the material and choose the topics. Then, we separately edited the activities.
For example, Anastasia was responsible for the designing of the biodiversity exercises in Kahoot! and in Learning Apps. In particular, she came up with the format and worked with Eirini, who helped to enrich it with new words and corrected the final details. Eirini, also, gathered the images we used.
Stelina created the activity on the cycle of water all on her own and enriched it with moving images. After that we all made observations and the final corrections.
Sofia organised the process of the uploading. She created a file and typed our observations and comments about the solution. She also helped with corrections and extra material.
Katerina designed the printable board game. She designed the board and the file with the rules, and came up with the multilingual questions for the cards . Finally, she wrote in English all the descriptions needed for the uploading of the solution and uploaded the final activity.
We are all students at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and belong in two cohorts: those carrying out Bachelor studies at School of French Language and Literature, and those carrying out a Master’s degree at the Interdepartmental postgraduate studies program “Languages, Communication and Management of Educational Services in modern social, economic and technological environment »
Team mentor was Associate Professor Evangelia Mousouri, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Katerina Zourou hosted the event, provided general framework for Citizen Science and assisted with technical support on Slack.
Solution description: Our final activities’ main objective is the fusion of citizen science and language learning with the view to sensitize students on environmental issues. In an effort to promote language and cultural awareness through the topics of biodiversity, sustainability and environmental phenomena, we created four multilingual activities targeted to elementary/secondary school students.
Based on the format of digital quizzes and board games that were available on the online platform of Kahoot! and the platforms provided by LeaningApps, we produced two separate activities on the topic of biodiversity in order to help students come in touch with different forms of life that coexist on our planet. The third activity is an interactive quiz about the cycle of water that can be engaging for young and older learners who wish to explore this natural phenomenon and come in contact with the particular vocabulary items. Finally, the printable board game in the form of Trivial Pursuit aims to encourage sustainable changes in our nutrition as well as in the way we choose to shop and cook our food. You can see them below:
1) «INTERACTIVE MULTILINGUAL BOARD GAMES: Biodiversity»: it is available on the online platform of LearningApps ( https://learningapps.org/display?v=poxkhfv8a20#9 ) and consists of various multilingual quizzes, puzzles and «The millionaire game»-type activities.
2) «INTERACTIVE ACTIVITIES IN 5 LANGUAGES FOR ENVIRONMENT»: it is available on the online platform of LearningApps ( https://learningapps.org/display?v=pe2fjixyj20 ) and consists of various multilingual quizzes and videos.
3) «THE MULTILINGUAL TRIVIAL: I TAKE CARE OF THE ENVIRONMENT, I TAKE CARE OF MY HEALTH » It is a conventional board game with various multilingual activities, based on the «Trivial pursuit»-board game.
4) «BIODIVERSITY – GUESS THE LANGUAGE & PLAY!»: it is available on the online platform of Kahoot! ( https://create.kahoot.it/share/biodiversity-guess-the-language-play-thessaloniki-citizenscience-inos-challenge-20-group3/6d7c43d7-ae46-47da-b03e-a18480637274 ) and consists of various multilingual quizzes and videos.
Given the fact that we are currently dealing with a pandemic, the challenges we faced throughout our co-operation were mainly practical. Since we were not acquainted with each other beforehand, we dealt with our inability for face-to-face communication through video conferencing meetings and we harmoniously worked together no matter the circumstances. Moreover, the time pressure combined with technical difficulties that were related to internet connection and the use of the online tools made the process even more challenging, but not overwhelming. Despite all these minor challenges, with our common belief in our work and our chemistry, we managed to exchange material and ideas and produce fun, educational and interactive activities.
Solution target group
While coming up with ideas about the topics, we decided that we would target a spectrum of elementary and secondary school students. In fact, it was a common idea that we should differentiate the target groups since some activities are more appropriate for older students because of the more complicated notions they include. Nevertheless, the four exercises we designed were produced in a fun and interactive way so that anyone interested in a multilingual experience would be able to participate.
The four solutions we propose aim to raise awareness not only when it comes to environmental issues in a citizen science perspective but also to the awakening of linguistic and cultural consciousness. Now, more than ever, due to the worldwide environmental and health crisis, these activities are useful because, through them, we intended to inspire students in order to help them take initiatives for positive change in the future and form the conscience of active citizens. Furthermore, the solution impact also applies to a sense of familiarity with technology as, in three of the activities, the interactive learning takes place through online technological tools and platforms. This can also contribute to a more developed computer and technology literacy on the students’ part.
Solution tweet textThe Multilingual Nature Explorers: Engage in multilingualism and citizen science and have fun with interactive activities.
Since our mentality as a team is that education should not be one dimensional or boring, we created our activities with that in mind. What we thought was that it would be quite innovative to introduce the multilingual approach of language awareness in the classroom and especially in the Greek classroom where such initiatives are rare. The fusion of language learning with citizen science is the heart of our activities and the fact that it is brought forward through creative and interactive methods makes the solutions even more appealing and interesting. In this way, our idea challenges the traditional way of learning and invites students, teachers and parents to explore their role in sustainability, understand biodiversity and process the natural cycle of water so as to take an active part. Presented in many different languages, the material and activities bring innovation in education with the view to encourage everyone to come in contact with the languages of our world, something that was quite overlooked in the past years.
Our activities are simple and fun. Therefore, that makes them appropriate for a variety of educational and non-educational contexts. They can function as the base of future activities with similar aim or content, or they can even be used just for the pleasure of learning at home. Schools, educational programs, private lesson teachers and educators in the public or private sector, can enrich their lesson plans with our activities in order to introduce social concerns or multilingualism in their classes. In general, all four of them can be successfully adjusted to the needs and interests of any socially-related lesson.
We created our activities having in mind that they can contribute as a base to future lesson planning since the topics raised are timely and interesting for all people. Environmental issues and our role, concerning them, are always problematizing us when we think about the future. Our activities are proof that education can bring positive changes in the sustainable way of living, and this is exactly the mentality behind them. In particular, the quizzes and digital board games were especially created to remain “durable” on the world wide web so as to be easily accessible in the times to come for anyone who wishes to promote those ideas and form students’ consciousness in a fun and interactive way.
Solution team work
Although actual real-life work was not possible in the times of the pandemic, our team members managed to remain cooperative and productive in other ways. As a virtual team, we used several kinds of distance meetings and discussions so as to exchange ideas, material and doubts. Platforms such as Zoom, Slack and Messenger assisted our effort to work together successfully and despite our busy schedules and time pressure. Our cooperation was smooth, productive and inspiring due to our chemistry and willingness to present a solution that lives up to our expectations.
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