An Interdisciplinary Project in Sustainable Development Based on Modern Visual Programming Environments and Web 2.0 Technologies

Daniela Giordano and Francesco Maiorana
University of Catania


Abstract

Sustainable development is raising a strong and increasing interest and efforts are being devoted worldwide in order to introduce the notion of sustainability in the curricula, from schools to PhD programs. The focus of this work is on reporting a teaching and learning experience aimed at introducing the students to the culture of sustainability, by means of a project that utilizes a leading visual programming environment and web 2.0 technologies, and is suitable for a relatively large group. The key idea was to tell a story through a computational artifact, whose development requires critical and creative thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration skills [6] as well as information literacy. This paper describes the pedagogical design of the activities, their objectives, class management issues, and the scaffolds to designing the animated story, to be implemented using a cutting edge, syntax-free visual language called Scratch. Both the humanistic and the scientific aspects were to be covered in each story about a selected topic in sustainability, in order to involve as much as possible of the teaching spectrum and create a truly interdisciplinary environment. The developed Scratch-based solution is also suited for deployment for mobile devices using the App Inventor visual programming language.