Climate change education through the You and CO2 programme: modelling student engagement and teacher delivery during COVID-19
Helen Ross, Jennifer A. Rudd, R. Lyle Skains, Ruth Horry
While there has been an international call for action from the United Nations secretary general, individuals’ abilities to engage with climate change and actions to mitigate it can vary. In 2020 and 2021, COVID-19 and related school closures caused significant upheaval across the world; schools made immediate shifts to remote delivery, increasing workloads and decreasing access to outdoor spaces and opportunities to connect with nature. In this paper we will explore a rural, mid-Wales school’s approach to climate change education (CCE), and their experiences running the CCE programme ‘You and CO2’ through interviews with teachers and analyses of creative interactive digital narratives (IDNs) the students created on the programme. The paper will discuss what the school was doing before the COVID-19 pandemic, the effect of the pandemic on CCE in the school, and how the You and CO2 programme raised the aspirations and confidence levels of the school’s humanities department for teaching CCE. The findings in this study highlight the importance of localised knowledge, and engagement with local groups in successful delivery of CCE programmes, which was reflected in students’ IDNs.
Playing for Change: Teens’ Attitudes Towards Climate Change Action as Expressed Through Interactive Digital Narrative Play
R. Lyle Skains, Jennifer A. Rudd, Helen Ross, Ruth Horry
We designed and pilot tested “You and CO2”, a program designed to encourage students to reflect on their personal impact on the environment, while also appreciating their place within society to bring about positive societal change. Over three interlinked workshops, students analysed the carbon footprints of some everyday activities, which they then explored in more detail through interacting with a bespoke piece of interactive digital narrative (IDN), No World 4 Tomorrow. Previous papers have discussed the feasibility of the program and student engagement with the concepts. This paper presents analysis of the playthrough data as each participant in the program played the IDN to completion, examining trends in story selection choices for how they reflect students’ understandings and attitudes towards climate change and their own ability to make a difference in matters large and small pertaining to climate change.
How Big Is My Carbon Footprint? Understanding Young People’s Engagement with Climate Change Education
Helen Ross, Jennifer A. Rudd, Lyle Skains, Ruth Horry
This paper presents a new engagement model for climate change education (CCE) as a result of analysing interactive digital narratives (IDNs) created during the You and CO2 Climate Change Education Programme. Young people aged 13–15 from two schools in Wales participated in three workshops, which culminated in students producing IDNs about climate change using Twine storytelling software. An inductive, grounded-theory approach informed by Bourdieusien principles of habitus and value was used to explore students’ responses to the Programme. Stage 1 coding identified ‘Core Themes’ and located student responses along tri-axial continua showing engagement, agency, and power. Stage 2 coding combined ‘Core Themes’ to build upon Cantell et al.’s 2019 Bicycle Model of Climate Change Education to create a new ‘holistic Agentic Climate-Change Engagement’ model (h-ACE), where learners’ journeys towards full engagement with and understanding of CCE and action could be traced. Barriers to students’ engagement with and understanding of CCE were identified through Bourdieusien analysis of responses. Results show that engagement was related to children’s views on their capacity to effect change on individual, local and governmental levels. The h-ACE provides a model for adjusting CCE curricula to accommodate young people’s varying cultures and views.
You and CO2: a Public Engagement Study to Engage Secondary School Students with the Issue of Climate Change
Jennifer A. Rudd, Ruth Horry, Lyle Skains
School students are growing up in a world with a rapidly changing climate, the effects of which will become increasingly apparent during their lifetimes. We designed and pilot tested “You and CO2”, a STEAM program designed to encourage students to reflect on their personal impact on the environment, while also appreciating their place within society to bring about positive societal change. Over three interlinked workshops, students analyzed the carbon footprints of some everyday activities, which they then explored in more detail through interacting with a bespoke piece of digital fiction, No World 4 Tomorrow. The program culminated with students producing their own digital fictions, allowing them the freedom to explore the themes from the previous workshops with a setting and focus of their choice. We reflect here on the experience of running the You and CO2 program and on the themes that emerged from the students’ original digital fictions.
University-Designed Programme Increases Children’s Knowledge of Their Carbon Footprint
An interdisciplinary team at Swansea and Bangor universities have designed a programme which encourages school-aged children to think about their personal impact on climate change…[more]