Submission: SSS23 Soil as an open interdisciplinary laboratory:
didactical pathways for soil science teaching in school
Soil-Net.com
The development of a
soils educational web portal for
schools age
Dr Stephen Hallett,
Prof. P. Bullock, Dr T. Simmons,
J. Dunleavy
EGU. Thursday 11:45 - 12:00
ORAL EGU2007-A-04720
SSS3-1TH2O-006 Room: Lecture Room 33
Defra funded project: SP0552
Cranfield campus
School of Applied Sciences
Silsoe
Department of Natural Resources
RMCS
National Soil Resources Institute (NSRI)
The challenge!
www.soil-net.com/
SOIL, alongside AIR and WATER, is
one of the world’s three major
natural resources
Soil Drivers
 EU: Thematic
Strategy for
Soil “Defra
Protection
Objective
One,
will work with
Communication (COM(2006) 231) sets a 10-year framework to ensure high
level of soil protection,
and identify measures
to be taken.
The proposed soil
stakeholders
to develop
a programme
framework Directive (COM(2006) 232) identifies common principles for
ofallowing
education
andStates
awareness
ofbest
soil
protecting EU soils,
EU Member
to decide how
to
protect and use soil in a sustainable way. Lastle, the Impact Assessment
issues
among620)
thecontains
general
public, those
(SEC (2006) 1165
and SEC(2006)
a socio-economic
and
environmental impact assessment of the different options considered in the
working
with soils
and
the professionals
preparatory phase
of the strategy
and of the
measures
finally retained by
the Commission.
that guide, advise or instruct soil
 UK Environment Agency: The State of Soils in England
managers.”
and Wales (13/5/04)
Healthy soils are vital to a sustainable environment, but there are increasing
signs that their condition has been neglected. As it cannot be assumed that
soil loss and damage will be recoverable, it is essential that soils are
managed sustainably to keep them healthy for future generations.
 UK DEFRA: The First Soil Action Plan for England (5/04)
Soil is one of the essentials of life, along with air and water. Yet it is so much
a part of everyday life that there’s a danger of taking it for granted. Covering
most of the earth’s land surface, it is the essential growing medium for our
food, timber and other crops. It supports the buildings that we live and work
in and the roads and rails that move us around.
UK Key Stages
Key Stage
School Years
Children's Ages
1
1 and 2
5 to 7
SATs
2
3, 4, 5 and 6
7 to 11
SATs
3
7, 8 and 9
11 to 14
SATs
4
10 and 11
14 to 16
GCSE
Primary
Secondary
Some comments…
“In primary school education
there are virtually no
activities linked to soil”
“The National
curriculum scarcely
mentions soils”
“We need to concentrate on
developing soil awareness at
schools level to a solid
foundation standard and then
follow up ‘environmental’
degree courses with postprofessional soil-specific
short courses aimed at newly
appointed staff in
organisations such as
FWAG, EA etc.”
“Teachers want pupils to see and touch
soils to see what goes on rather than just
looking at text books and pupils have
much a improved understanding of the
processes involved when they're out in
the field and studying it”
“We think the largest absence is with
younger age groups. A level geography
optional modules provide good
opportunities for soils study but these are
often the least popular”
“Do you have, or know
“You have reminded me
how important it is to
understand soils as the
connection between
geology, wildlife and
landscape, and farming,
economy and culture”
where I could
find/purchase a range of
soil samples for use in
teaching science (or any
other useful resources)?”
“Soil is very important
and has been lost sight of
in school education and
higher education, with
soil departments closing”
Where’s the Soil ???
 Geography
 geographical enquiry and skills
 environmental change and sustainable development
 Science: life processes and living things
 variation, classification and inheritance
 green plants as organisms
 living things in their environment
 Science: materials and their properties
 acids and bases
 geological changes
Where’s the Soil ???
 History
 settlements, events, people and changes in the past
 historical interpretation
 Citizenship
 responsible living
 ICT
 environmental data
 Art and Design
 texture, natural forms
 mother nature
designer
Soil-Net Responsibilities
Design
NSAD [& CU]
Livery
Multimedia
Print Objects
Graphic Design
Direction &
Relevance
Operation
Soil-Net….
Defra, SetNet, Schools
DfES, OU
Textual content
Design direction
Logical structure
Content
CU
Domain “www.soil-net.com” owned by CU
Trademark “Soil-Net” owned by CU
Hosting
Content Management
Facilitation
Provision
DesignDialogues & CU IT Dept
SiteMachine3
Soil-Net Delivery Themes
 Classroom – Shared experience
 Classroom – Working
independently
 Teacher’s resource
 Student home research
Locations:
Classroom, ICT Lab, Home, Outside …
Design Approach
Cues:
Visual, audio, timings, pace
Cast:
Consistent naming, voicing, character and
appearance
Appearance:
Colour schemes, icons, layout, CSS styles
Typography:
Font styles
Navigation:
Consistency, accessibility issues
Printing:
Print objects and templates
Language:
Key Stage language, semantic guidance,
vocabulary
Learning:
Didactic guidance, evidence-based approach
(practical and effective activities)
Structural:
File/folder naming conventions
Development of an informal ‘Style Guide’ for development team
http://www.soil-net.com
Interactive Rich Media
Delivery via the Internet:
 Today there are 1.1 billion users of the
Internet worldwide
 In Europe a 249% growth in Internet
usage from 2000 to 2007 (399 million)
 90 percent of all Schools in England
have high-speed connections
 99% of all Secondary schools and 89%
of all Primary schools are connected
 Cost effective delivery mechanism,
transforming learning opportunities
Source of school statistics: http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/ictis/infrastructure/broadband/ Accessed 27/3/07
Source of Internet statistics: http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm Accessed 27/3/07
Soil-Net Structure
Soil-Net Primary
KS1
KS2
Soil-Net Secondary
Introductory
Interactive
Multimedia
Activity and
Fact sheets
Articles
KS3
3x3
pieces
Activities
KS4
Downloads
Photographs
Essays
Links and Further references
Case Studies
Soil-Net Structure
Part I Introduction
Part II The Global Cycles
Part III The Function of Soils
Part IV The Soils On Earth
Part V Threats To Soils
Part VI Future Concerns
Part VII Case Studies
64 topics +
Online Quizzes
Quiz
Attempts
Mean score (%)
Quiz
Attempts
Mean score (%)
Secondary_Intro_What
15
76.9
Secondary_Functions_Farmingandfood
4
75
Secondary_Intro_Matter
7
80
Secondary_Functions_Forestry
9
87.8
Secondary_Intro_Microscope
9
86.7
Secondary_Functions_Ecology
4
94
Secondary_Intro_Properties
19
81
Secondary_Functions_Ecology_Leaves
20
79.5
Secondary_Intro_Formation
6
73.3
Secondary_Functions_Soilwater
5
92
Secondary_Intro_Differences
7
94.2
Secondary_Functions_Reclamation
1
88
Secondary_Intro_Livingbeing
9
68.9
Secondary_Functions_Infrastructure
2
94
Secondary_Intro_Plants
20
94
Secondary_Functions_Archaeology
5
77.6
Secondary_Intro_Colonisation
4
65
Secondary_Functions_Climate
1
63
Secondary_Cycles_Oxygen
5
77.8
Secondary_Functions_Health
2
94
Secondary_Cycles_Nitrogen
4
81.5
Secondary_Functions_Foodprod
2
90
Secondary_Cycles_Carbon
10
79
Secondary_Functions_Garden
8
84.5
Secondary_Cycles_Nutrient
1
88
Secondary_Soilsonearth_Britain
10
86.4
Secondary_Cycles_Hydrology
1
100
Secondary_Soilsonearth_World
10
60.2
Secondary_Threats_Erosion
3
58.3
Secondary_Threats_Desertification
2
100
Secondary_Threats_Acidrain
1
25
Secondary_Threats_Fertilisers
1
38
Secondary_Threats_Pollutants
1
13
Quiz_WhosePoo.swf
44
82.8
Activities and Downloads
Soil-related activity sheets – 50+ activity sheets and resources
for all ages, presented by Key Stage.
Desktop wallpaper - 'green-screen' images.
The school garden - how to start and manage a school garden.
Soil walks - take a virtual online soil walk.
Terrain builder - an erosion simulator. Design a landscape and let
the water flow!
Eco-Lifestyle Quiz - an 'eco schools' resource. Check the impacts of
your lifestyle on the environment.
SoilScapes Interactive mapper - online soil mapping for England
and Wales. Enter your Postcode to see the soils near you.
Whose Poo? & Whose Clues? - you just have to find out!
Wormery - study worms and learn about what they do!
Soil-Net Primary fileset - for offline use.
Soil-Net Photo Library - over 2,400 high quality environmental
images for royalty-free classroom use.
Soil-Net Photo Album
 Unique resource
 2,441 photographs
 75 categorised folders
 2.65 Gb imagery
 Availability – free!
 Creative commons
Attribution
Non-commercial
Share-alike licence
Referencing Soil-Net
A selection of sites cross-referencing Soil-Net
BA – follow up to BA Festival
http://www.the-ba.net/the-ba/
Geography World
http://members.aol.com/bowermanb/101.html
Breaking Ground
http://whyfiles.org/199_soil/
Hants County Council
Bright New Scotland Soils
http://www.brightnewscotland.org.uk/UserFile
s/File/Analysing,%20Identifying%20&
%20Working%20Soil(1).pdf
http://www.hants.gov.uk/schooltravelplans/lin
ks.html
Hants County Council
http://www.hants.gov.uk/environment/soils/as
sets/Hampshire_summary.pdf
BSSS
http://www.soils.org.uk/
Hants County Council
Just for Kids Bureau of Land
Management
http://www.blm.gov/nstc/soil/Kids/knowmore.h
tml
http://www3.hants.gov.uk/sustainableschools/
sustainable-schoolsaction/sustainable-schoolslanduse.htm
Compendium of models and
applications
http://www.itc.nl/personal/rossiter/research/rsr
ch_ss_apps.html
Home-made metal detectors
Countryside Agency
http://www.countryside.gov.uk/
http://www.metal-detectorsreviews.com/wi/Homemade-metaldetectors
http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/land/soil
/education/index.htm
Institute of Environmental
Sciences (IES)
http://www.ies-uk.org.uk/
DEFRA
http://www.isric.org/UK/About+Soils/Other+so
urces/Soil+education/default.htm
Environment Agency
http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/
ISRIC World Soil Information
- data sets
Essex Grid for Learning
http://www.e-gfl.org/
IUSS
http://www.iuss.org/
EUGRIS
http://www.eugris.info/
New Forest National Park
http://www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/support_org
anisations
FACE
http://www.face-online.org.uk
Planet Science
http://www.scienceyear.com/home.html
FTPWork
http://www.ftpwork.org/
Radley College
Geog Soc.
http://www.geocities.com/geogsoc2000/Conte
nts.htm
http://geography.radley.org.uk/web_physical.
html#soils
Science Learning Centres
http://www.sciencelearningcentres.org.uk/
Geographical Association
http://www.geography.org.uk
TeacherNet Growing Schools
http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/
Geography Forum
http://www.learningnet.co.uk/ubb/Forum5/HT
ML/006822.html
TeacherNet Sustainable
Schools Forum
http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/sustainablesch
ools/
Staffordshire Learning Net
http://www.sln.org.uk/geography
The Geography Pages
http://www.geographypages.co.uk/soils.htm
United States Consortium of
Soil Science
Associations
http://soilsassociation.org/
Google = 10,700 references
Web Statistics
Top Referring sources
11,969 unique
visitors, averaging
48 unique persons
visiting each day
145,520 page
impressions served
up (pages viewed)
on monitored pages
(direct)[(none)]
6947
google[organic]
5058
soils.org.uk[referral]
857
yahoo[organic]
416
en.wikipedia.org[referral]
242
teachernet.gov.uk[referral]
227
isric.org[referral]
214
publications.teachernet.gov.uk[referral]
214
msn[organic]
165
blm.gov[referral]
156
www3.landis.org.uk[referral]
133
silsoe.cranfield.ac.uk[referral]
122
cranfield.ac.uk[referral]
110
learn.flvs.net[referral]
98
defra.gov.uk[referral]
93
school-portal.co.uk[referral]
88
intranet.open.ac.uk[referral]
88
images.google.com[referral]
80
Country of Origin
Visits
bbc.co.uk[referral]
79
United Kingdom
10,981
search[organic]
77
United States
2,467
banks.k12.ga.us[referral]
69
India
686
Period June 2006 to 27/3/07
Period June 2006 to 27/3/07
Future Soil-Net directions?
•‘Future Sustainability Plan’
• plan to manage and nourish dynamic web resource.
• reflect contemporary issues.
• administer to changing curricula
• further case-studies
•‘Promotional Campaign’
• retain Soil-Net’s place in the ‘spotlight’
• incorporate cross-linkages with other Defra and DfES initiatives and web resources
•‘16-19 age group’
• UK ‘A Level’, and Vocational Qualifications
• other audiences to extend Soil-Net for: environmental science and geography and
horticulture as well as other land-based industries.
•‘Soil Walks’
• soils education and ‘healthy living’ - outdoor activities
• soil elements added to walking guides.
•‘Translation’
• convert the Soil-Net text to other European languages.
• more than simple translation as appropriate curriculum maps and semantics within
the text need attention – but achievable!
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