South Baltic WebLab - a Virtual Laboratory on Marine Sciences for School Students

In the South Baltic Area with its societies and economy closely linked to the Baltic Sea, a significant number of institutions deal with oceanographic issues. Marine science institutes, enterprises for aquaculture or fisheries management, maritime agencies, environmental consultancies, local and regional authorities, or NGOs dealing with marine environmental protection - they all are in need of highly qualified oceanographers. Yet, prognosis of the demographic development in one part of the SBA or a greater attractiveness of other professions in the other part endangers the success of future recruitment. Therefore, strengthening the SBA position in competing for qualified staff is crucial, especially as a prognosticated intensified use of the Baltic Sea (increasing exploitation of resources, densification of traffic followed by a higher probability of accidents with environmental damages, increasing numbers of off-shore constructions) demands increasing numbers of well-trained oceanographers.

The South Baltic WebLab aims at attracting school students to marine sciences and at promoting respective studies at universities in the SBA. It will also inform them about the relevant labour market and will encourage them to see their professional future within the SBA. The Baltic WebLab is founded on a three-fold approach:

A) We will offer highly sophisticated eLearning modules on different Baltic Sea research issues - a kind of virtual laboratory for young people. The modules will be designed in close cooperation of all partners, following the didactic approach of problem-based, self-directed learning.

B) We will provide a database about all institutions working in the field of oceanography within the SBA with target-group relevant information, for instance, on offers for internships. A selection of 21 oceanographers will present their everyday work in the form of blogs and will encourage young visitors of the site to add their own blogs, documenting interviews with their scientists from adjacent institutes. Thus, the students will be stimulated to get in real contact with scientists, too.

C) Annual science camps will bring together school students age 15-18 from all participating regions and will offer tutored field campaigns at changing sites.

D) The frame programme of these camps will include panel discussions and best-practise competitions, which, as a further target group, integrate school authorities from the local to regional level of all participating regions to serve the exchange of experience with science meets school activities.

The consortium comprises five universities from all SBA countries representing the organisations responsible for student education and two public research institutes from Poland and Germany representing potential employers. School representatives from 4 SBA countries accompany the project as associated organisations. Contracts among the partners will ensure long-term usage and up-dating of the WebLab.

Associated Organizations:

Upper secondary school Spyken (Sweden),

ecolea - Internationale Schule Rostock/Schwerin (Germany),

Klaipeda Vetrunges gimnasium (Lituania),

Comprehensive Schools Complex number 7 (Poland),

Innerstaedtisches Gymnasium Rostock (Germany),

Erasmusgymnasium Rostock (Germany)

Abstract: Development of an eLearning environment for (international) secondary school students. Content: How does science work? How do scientists (in Marine sciences) work?

Keywords: eLearning, Game-based Learning, Baltic Sea Research

Further information on this research project in the WWW:

WebLab Mixxt Community

Project Website