Teaching the Future will allow young people to be informed and empowered to address the urgency of their future. School education is needed to help youngsters understand the background and science behind the plan to make the EU’s economy sustainable and to address climate change in particular.
Teaching The Future is based on the need to tackle the climate emergency and ecological crisis. This action was called for by the “Teach the Future” campaign. Students from around the world were protesting at national government’s lack of action on the climate crisis. One of their key demands was for government education reforms to teach young people about the urgency, severity and scientific basis of the climate crisis and its links to health.
The purpose of ‘Teaching The Future’ is to establish access to tools and resources that allow a scientific data-based school education response to climate change education, one that is set in the context of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
The European Commission Education for Climate Coalition initiative (2020) stipulate that climate change in education initiatives should urgently be embedded in schools and in teacher training. The Commission’s Digital Education Action Plan (2020) proposes the development of a high-performing digital education ecosystem with high-quality learning content and user-friendly, safe tools.
Teaching The Future suggests there is great potential for schools, colleges and other secondary education institutions to use innovative digital technologies to integrate climate and associated environmental issues into their curricula.
TTF will assess the curriculum opportunities of partner schools and teachers to using “Teach the Future” approaches. The results will help identify relevant approaches and pedagogies for active citizenship, including dealing with climate data, citizen science approaches, responding to local and other issues. TTF will provide access to climate information and data, reducing the likelihood of misinformation.
A data dashboard and toolkit will be created to provide access to reliable climate change data for use in schools by teachers of different subjects, with the potential to produce visualisations of climate data, assessment of local issues and possibilities to engage in their own data collection and active citizenship.
The training course will encourage teachers to create opportunities for the critical assessment of information reliability. It will also enable teachers to establish and use innovative approaches to teaching and learning about climate in core curriculum areas like Mathematics and Geography, linking the global issue to local activities and action. Training materials will be created for the professional development of teachers and educators at secondary school level.
Teaching The Future encourages education access to open scientific data on climate. Open data is an initiative championed by the European Commission, where information is available to use for instance through European sources like the European Environment Agency Climate Data Centre (link: https://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/climate/dc), the European Space Agency Climate Initiative (http://cci.esa.int/data) and the EU Open Data Portal (https://data.europa.eu/euodp/en/home). These resources can be enhanced with global data sets from for instance NASA (https://www.data.gov/climate/) and Open Climate Data (https://openclimatedata.net/).
Integrating these reliable data outputs available for citizens to access and use from public sources and leading scientists in schools is highly innovative. So far, there is little or no awareness in most European schools of either open data, or related scientific resources or the freely available data visualisation and presentation tools that allow them to be enhanced and used in education. Given that the main issue in developing active learning about climate is much more than simple access to the data or technology, the project has a partnership that provides links to climate experts, secondary school teachers, digital technologies and open education experts, organisations who can enable citizen science learning approaches and a European subject network active in the field of school education, teacher training organizations.
Climate change and active citizenship are very challenging areas for schools and teachers to address. In Teaching The Future, teachers will be required to develop and use an innovative educational approach, integrating data science (open climate data), digital technologies and citizen engagement (citizen science) in teaching and learning TTF offers an innovative approach to school teachers, embedding the use of data and scientific information, integrating digital skills and active citizenship in climate education.