Mar 08 2017 Posted: 10:25 GMT

‘Harmful Algal Blooms’ is an innovative introduction of Ocean Literacy in Irish secondary schools

A marine science iBook entitled Harmful Algal Blooms has been developed as part of NUI Galway’s contribution to an EU-funded European research project Sea Change. The project aims to raise European citizens’ awareness of the ocean’s influence on us and our influence on the ocean, or “ocean literacy”.

The iBook will be launched by Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research on Monday, 13 March at 4pm in the Moore Institute Seminar Room, Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway.

Dr Christine Domegan, the NUI Galway Principal Investigator for Sea Change, Whitaker Institute, said: “Co-creating ocean literacy calls for collaboration, discussion, participation and engagement across multiple stakeholders in Europe; from policy makers, to educators, and from media to mariners, children and grandparents.”

Opportunities to increase awareness of the ocean are limited in the junior cycle science curriculum across Europe. This iBook is designed to infuse the engaging story of Harmful Algal Blooms into teaching across the sciences. Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, occur when colonies of algae - simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater - grow out of control while producing toxic or harmful effects on fish, shellfish, marine mammals, birds and people.

During the launch, the author, Dr Robin Raine, from Earth and Ocean Sciences, NUI Galway, will speak about his experiences at the heart of the book. The audience will also be introduced to the teaching design used within the book, which aims to ensure the content can be taken up by Science teachers and students to advance a Sea Change in Irish and European ocean literacy.

There was a great response from both teachers and students after piloting the iBook in Irish, Swedish, and Belgian schools. 

The iBook was co-edited by Dr Veronica McCauley and Dr Kevin Davison of NUI Galway’s School of Education. Dr McCauley said: “Teachers are becoming more savvy with technology in the classroom and are finding innovative ways to teach the curriculum so that it encourages personal interest in the sciences. This is particularly true given the recent Digital Strategy for Schools, 2015-2020 and its promotion of coding and programming.”

The importance of the ocean, and therefore ocean literacy, cannot be overestimated. The ocean defines and dominates everything about our planet. It is home to most of the life on Earth, regulates our weather and climate, provides most of our oxygen, and feeds much of the human population.

Dr Robin Raine, author and lecturer at NUI Galway, says: “This book will introduce students to important features of our ocean as well as harmful algal blooms. It will act as a resource for teachers to strengthen and promote science through the topic of marine science.”

To confirm your attendance at the launch, please register at: www.eventbrite.ie/e/launch-of-harmful-algal-blooms-ibook-tickets-32407091483

For further information, contact Dr Veronica McCauley, School of Education, NUI Galway on veronica.mccauley@nuigalway.ie. Other marine related resources are available on the project website at www.seachangeproject.eu

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