Effects of student participation in an online learning community on environmental education: a Greek case study
The aim of the present study was: (a) the creation of an Online Learning Community (OLC) for the implementation of an environmental education (EE) project in secondary education, and (b) the investigation of the potential impact of student participation in the OLC on students' knowledge and attitudes regarding the natural environment, on students' social skills as well as their attitudes towards Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and their ICT skills. The sample were 27 lower secondary school students (aged 12-13 years old) who collaborated within an OLC set up by their teacher by means of the free Yahoo Groups service in order to complete an EE project. The experimental intervention lasted for 10 weeks. Before and after the intervention, the students filled in a questionnaire addressing: a) their knowledge and attitudes regarding the natural environment, b) their social skills and c) their attitudes and skills regarding ICT. The study revealed that the OLC was a viable solution for supporting student collaboration in the implementation of the EE project, and that student participation in the OLC had positive effects on students' knowledge and attitudes towards the natural environment, on their social skills as well as their attitudes and skills regarding ICT.