EcoApS-Educa was an experience which was born in 2017 from the cooperation of three educational centers: Universitat de València, Instituto de Educación Secundaria Benlliure and Colegio Municipal Fernando de los Ríos.
From the beginning, it was established as main objective of the experience the design of a project following a “food chain” structure in which every participant was able to learn something and teach to other people. In order to achieve this, the project was divided into several phases.
First, a meeting to discuss ideas about the project was suggested between teachers and students from all three centers, specifically a teacher from Ecology Department at Universitat de València, two students (one of Biology, the other from Environmental Sciences) from the same university, a teacher from Instituto de Educación Secundaria Benlliure and a teacher from Colegio Municipal Fernando de los Ríos.
Second, as agreed at that meeting, University students took charge of doing an exhaustive research on mobile apps which may serve to develop and record a nature itinerary, as well as other apps aimed at plants and animals’ identification at Jardines del Real, near Instituto de Educación Secundaria Benlliure.
Next, University students introduced High School students to project basis and selected apps working, in order to ask them for testing those apps at Jardines del Real and designing an itinerary by themselves. However, this itinerary would pass through a different location, Parque Natural de La Albufera and it would be directed towards Primary School students.
For High School students to be able to design such itinerary, they visited Parque Natural de La Albufera with their teacher and the University students in order to think about different ideas on how exactly to carry out the itinerary. It was decided to prepare a route with activities related to fauna, flora and certain aspects about Albufera ecosystem dynamics, which would later be expressed in a brief exercise book to be completed by Primary School students.
This way, Primary students would follow in a group a path stopping at several previously chosen spots at Parque Natural de La Albufera, each one of them holding an activity presented and supervised by a High School Student, whose understanding was required to complete the questions in the exercise book. Children would assimilate several important aspects about natural phenomena and biodiversity at the ecosystem by playing games and solving puzzles, having fun and learning about the importance of teamwork, motivation, empathy and responsibility at the same time.
Additionally, Primary students completed the service-learning cycle taking part in a video recording the experience, which reflected on how they felt about it and what they had learnt, meaning to raise awareness within the general population.
Finally, the whole project was summarized in a poster, which was displayed at Universitat de València during a special event named “Expociència”, along many other scientific projects in order to show them to general public.