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Environmental Education

In 2006, I am starting an international R&D program, NatureGate(R), with Eija and Jouko Lehmuskallio. It uses patented digital software for fast identification of plant species. Plants and other organism species are like a gate to ecosystems, and sustainable development (integrating ecologically, economically and socially sustainable development). Flowering plants and other vascular plants are our first step, because people are attracted by them and they are very important also from evolutionary viewpoint.

I have with my R&D group an integrating approach to Environmental Education (Åhlberg 1993 - 2002, Åhlberg & Dillon 2003, Åhlberg & Robinson 2003, Åhlberg, Turja. & Robinson 2003). We believe that Environmental Education is best promoted by constructing good integrating theories and methods, and continually testing them both theoretically comparing what other theories, and empirically in everyday practice. This continual testing generates continual quality monitoring (assurance) and continual quality improvement. A recent comparison, benchmarking, has been made with Sandell, Öhman and Östman's (2003) new book: Miljödidaktik.

I have done with my students Research and Development projects, which promote mostly 'Education and learning for environment'. It has been discussed more thoroughly in the view of Education for Sustainable Development.)

I have been interested in theory and history of Environmental Education. I am amazed how little most researchers, developers and teachers know about it. E.g. it is often claimed that Lucas (1972 and 1979) invented the idea of three forms of EE. However already Donaldson & Donaldson (1958) presented the same division for outdoor education: About Outdoors/Environment, in Outdoors/Environment and for Outdoors/Environment. I have developed an integrating approach to EE, in which all above named three aspects of EE are continually integrated, tested and improved both in theory and practice, see e.g. Åhlberg 1998a - 19989c, Pitkänen (2001), Wilska-Pekonen (2001) and Äänismaa (2002).

I have long term R&D cooperation e.g. with Professor Patrick Dillon (University of Exeter, UK) since 1998 (Åhlberg & Dillon 2003).

I have developed three practical and theoretically sound new quality tools (Improved Concept Mapping, Improved Vee Heuristics and ARRA or Analysis of Reasoning, Rhetorics and Argumentation ) (<LINK>) to promote Environmental Education.


Äänismaa, P. 2002. Ympäristökasvatusta kehittämässä kotitalousopettajien koulutuksessa. PhD Dissertation. University of Joensuu. Publications in Education 74.

Åhlberg, M. 1993. Concept maps, Vee diagrams and Rhetorical Argumentation (RA) Analysis: Three educational theory-based tools to facilitate meaningful learning. Paper presented at The Third International Seminar on Misconceptions in Science and Mathematics. August 1- 5, 1993. Cornell University. Published digitally in the Proceedings of the Seminar, http://www.mlrg.org/proc3abstracts.html (Read 26 2. 2003.)

Åhlberg, M. 1998a. Kestävän kehityksen pedagogiikka ja yleisdidaktiikka. University of Joensuu. Bulletins of the Faculty of Education. N:o 71.

Åhlberg, M. 1998b. Ecopedagogy and ecodidactics: Education for Sustainable Development, Good Environment and Good Life. University of Joensuu. Bulletins of the Faculty of Education. N:o 69.

Åhlberg, M. 1998c. Education for sustainability, good environment and good life. In Åhlberg, M. & Leal Filho, W. (Eds.) 1998. Environmental education for sustainability: good environment, good life. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 25 - 43.

Åhlberg, M. & Dillon, P. 1999. Materials for Constructivistic Environmental Education, mainly to be used in pre-service and in-service teacher education: An integrating approach to environmental learning. In De Paz, M. & Pilo, M. (Eds.) 1999. European Project for Environmental Education. A Curriculum for European Schools. Genoa: University of Genoa, Italy, 3 - 33. [Published also digitally:
http://www.fisica.unige.it/~ilgioco/progetto/ahlberg/ahlberg/ahlberg.html ]
(Read 10. 3. 2003).

Åhlberg, M. & Dillon, P. 2003. Integrating education: For quality of life and a good environment (manuscript).

Åhlberg, M. & Robinson, J. 2003. An exploration of Education for Sustainability in the field practice schools of pre-service education students using tools for reflective practice. Submitted for publication.

Åhlberg, M., Turja, L. & Robinson, J. 2003. Educational research and development to promote sustainable development in the city of Helsinki: Helping the accessible Helsinki Programme 2001 - 2011 to achieve its goals. Accepted to be published in International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development Vol. 2, N:o 2.

Donaldson, G. & Donaldson, L. 1958. Outdoor education - a definition. Journal of Health, Physical education and Recreation 29(5), 17 and 63.

Lucas, A. 1972. Environment and Environmental Education: Conceptual issues and curriculum implications. PhD Dissertation. The Ohio State University. (Referred in the paper of Disinger, J. 1985. Environmental Education's definitional problem. School Science and Mathematics 85(11), 29 - 68).

Lucas, A. 1979. Environment and Environmental Education: Conceptual issues and curriculum implications. Melbourne: Australian International Press & Publications.

Pitkänen, R. (2001). Lyhytkestoiset tehtävät luokan ulkopuolisessa ympäristökasvatuksessa. [Short tasks in outdoor environmental education]. PhD Dissertation. University of Joensuu. Publications in Education 68.

Sandell, K., Östman, J & Östman, L. 2003. Mijödidaktik. Naturen, skolan och demokratin. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

Wilska-Pekonen, I. 2001. Opettajien ammatillinen kehittyminen ympäristökasvattajina kokemuksellisen oppimisen näkökulmasta. [Teachers' professional development as environmental educators from the viewpoint of experiential education]. PhD Dissertation. University of Joensuu. Publications in Education 65.


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