Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Education for Sustainability

Active Learning Resources

This short, annotated bibliography is a guide to help you understand more about the pedagogy behind the interactive learning methods that shape the Development Education Program's online learning modules and to help you make the most of these materials. Better yet, we hope that the information here will help you improve upon the work we have done!

Use the following links to access the topics that interest you most:

Definition and Theory of Active Learning

Bonwell, C.C., & Eison, J.A. (1991). "Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom." ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No1. Washington, DC: The George Washington University, School of Education and Human Development.
This text synthesizes research on active learning-focusing on the quality of the learning experience--and provides some suggestions on how to apply this technique. The article stresses that it is important for educational leadership and administration to support and encourage the use of these techniques.
Jones, B., G. Valdez, J. Nowakowski, & C. Rasmussen. 1994. "Meaningful, Engaged Learning." Designing Learning and Technology for Educational Reform. North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, Oak Brook, IL.
How do you know if you are using active-or engaged-learning? This article provides a description of 10 indicators to look for when creating and evaluating your own engaged classroom.

Practical Application of Active Learning

Solomon, G. (2002). "Project-Based Learning: A Primer." Technology and Learning Magazine.
Project-based learning is a type of action learning. This very well organized, user-friendly site shows how engaging students in group projects which utilize real-life events and materials, enriches the learning and teaching experience. A special set of links provides guidelines on how to create and implement your own learning project.
Harvard Graduate School of Education. 2002. ALPS (Active Learning Practice for Schools). Cambridge, Mass.
This site presents ALPS, Active Learning Practice for Schools, whose mission is to create an on-line collaborative environment between teachers and administrators from around the world. There are three areas of concentration within the ALPS site, including Teaching for Understanding, The Thinking Classroom, and Education with New Technologies. Each area has resources for cultivating active learning practice in schools, as well as interviews with practicing teachers and examples of their work.

Active Learning Through the Eyes of Practitioners 2004. "FoCAL Points." Public Education Network. Washington, DC.
This page contains links to a series of articles published over several years chronicling the Champions of Active Learning (C.A.L.) program. The articles include tips on active teaching as well as evaluation results. In addition, there are links to hands-on student activities.
UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund). 2001. "Teacher's Forum."
Shikha Chanda, a school teacher from Bangladesh, shares her experience with more child-centered, participatory and group-oriented methods.

Active Learning and Technology

Dodge, B. 2004. "The WebQuest Page". San Diego State University. San Diego.
This site presents a wealth of resources on the use of WebQuests for active learning. WebQuests are inquiry-oriented activities in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the World Wide Web. Learn how to build a WebQuest lesson yourself, or find out how to help your students develop their own WebQuests.

Teacher-Developed Learning Units

The DEP program had the privilege to work with a number of secondary school teachers from Ghana and Uganda who participated in our distance learning course entitled “Integrating Sustainable Development and Technology into the Curriculum.” During the course, the teachers learned about the concept of sustainable development and identified areas of their current curriculum where sustainable development could be integrated. Through a series of collaborative working sessions in multidisciplinary teams, teachers researched meaningful and recent resources (online and offline) in a wide range of media and developed learning activities that engage their students in learning about the social, economic, and environmental facets of sustainable development within their subject area.

The following learning units are examples of some of the work produced by these teachers. Each unit engages students actively in their own discovery of the topic and encourages them to think critically about how what they learn and the way they live can have an impact on the development of their county now and in future generations.

We invite you to use these units in your own classroom or use them as a guide to develop your own units that meet the specific needs of your curriculum and your students. Please send us your comments or your own teaching suggestions by using the feedback button available at the bottom of each page.

Learning Units

Note: Although the Curriculum Relevance reference for each unit pertains to Ghana's or Uganda's curriculum specificially, many of the objectives are relevant to other countries' curriculum.

Learning Modules
If you've completed our exercise on defining sustainable development, you will have started to see that this concept is quite complex. The learning modules on this web site give a variety of tools to help you explore some of the components and relationships of development and start to develop strategies for making decisions and taking action for your own sustainable future.

Each module explores an indicator that measures an aspect of the economy, society, or environment--for example how much money people have, how long they live, or how clean is the water they have to drink. Through completing the module you learn more about what the indicator measures, what will cause it to change, what is its relationship with other indicators of sustainable development, and how your country "measures up" in comparison to others in your region and around the world. As a result, you will be better informed and prepared to take positive action--either through the activities suggested in the Research and Explore section, or on your own--and to move toward sustainable development.


When we focus on the social aspects of sustainable development, we look at the issues that impact people directly and that either help or hinder the process of improving the quality of life. When you have finished reading this introduction, you can start exploring the Population Growth Rate and Life Expectancy learning modules. …more

Population Growth Rate
Life Expectancy at Birth

When we focus on the economic aspects of sustainable development, we look at the system that determines how the limited resources needed to improve peoples' lives are distributed. We also examine how these limited resources are used. When you have finished reading this introduction, you can start exploring the GNP per Capita learning module. …more

GNP per Capita

When we focus on the environmental aspects of sustainable development, we look at the natural resources--both renewable and non-renewable--that make up our surroundings and help us to sustain and better our lives. When you have finished reading this introduction, you can start exploring the Access to Safe Water learning module. …more

Access to Safe Water

Teaching Guides

These Teaching Guides offer exercises and suggested responses for the DEPweb Learning Modules. For additional teacher/facilitator materials and learning units, click here.


Population Growth Rate Teaching Activities

Life Expectancy Teaching Activities

GNP per Capita Teaching Activities

Access to Safe Water Teaching Activities

Bibliography of Active Learning Resources