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Open Access International river environment education that combines simulations with specimens from different times and regions

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY licence.

Over the years, humankind has contributed to the destruction of the environment, including river pollution. When comparing river water quality in developed and developing countries, the history is the opposite, with developed countries suffering from polluted rivers at a time when developing countries had relatively clean rivers. Although the literature provides descriptions of past water quality across the globe, there are no samples of this water, leading to a gap in knowledge. Fortunately, a team of researchers led by Dr Shigeki Mayama, Advanced Support Center for Science Teachers, Tokyo Gakugei University Koganei, Japan, has found a way to ascertain past water quality and decipher how it relates to the environmental concerns of the present. Ultimately, they want to help address environmental challenges by helping children to understand the direct impact of human activity on river environments. As such, the researchers are developing an educational programme involving a virtual environment and microorganisms called diatoms. Mayama and the team have developed simulation software called SimRIver, using which students can set up their own river basin environments and use diatoms as proxies for the aquatic environment to learn how they affect water quality. SimRIver is available in 22 languages, making it accessible to children in different countries and broadening its impact. In addition, it operates in a manner that mimics video games in order to be as appealing to students as possible. To circumvent a possible lack of reality, SimRiver is supplemented with actual specimens collected from the river. The idea is that combining virtual simulations with real-life specimens will promote effective learning.
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Keywords: BIOINDICATORS; DIATOMS; EFFECTIVE LEARNING; ENVIRONMENT; ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION; ENVIRONMENTAL INDICATOR ORGANISMS; ENVIRONMENTAL SIMULATOR; GLOBAL CONPETENCE; HUMAN ACTIVITY; MICROORGANISMS; RIVER ENVIRONMENTS; STUDENTS; WATER EDUCATION; WATER POLLUTION; WATER QUALITY; WATER STEWARDSHIP

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2021

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