The WATERPROJECT is a non-profit University-Industry collaboration in the teacher training program at the University of Southeastern Norway. The aim is to investigate in what ways an authentic learning environments like the collaboration above may gain value to science learning in teacher training programs in a global setting with the green demands acquired in the 21st century. In the Waterproject, the students are invited to join an ongoing environmental, society water monitoring project in Ramboll’s portfolio. The students work side by side with the experts in order to learn how to monitor water in accordance with the demands of the EU water directive. The students get access to all monitoring data. The project has an environmental approach. As the students get involved, they also need to address the political and social factors of the project as a total to be able to understand the complexity of the factors involved in the sustainable project. The Waterproject represents an ongoing research project. First deliverable will be an article in 2021 and a report. Due to the success of the collaboration, Ramboll has invited the University course to continue the project into a 10 year collaboration giving possibilities to deliver even more. When this is said. Analyzing the data at present show that the students bridge several gaps during the Waterproject.
Gap1. Taking theory out into the field, when theory is set into action and the students combine knowledge to skills.
Gap2. Students work with the external experts. Their relation to the experts is experienced by the students to lead to an increased focus on their learning and a need for more detailed knowledge while working in the field. They link theory learnt at the university to the use of science knowledge and skills needed to work as environmental experts as an example of green future jobs. As one student express it: “Now I know that what I have learnt at University really can be used to something important for my society”.
Gap3. Is experienced by the students, is a direct consequence of the involvement in an authentic project. The students feel a strong sense of responsibility.
The project is now more then a university task, it becomes a project they feel is important. They feel that the are doing something important for society, for nature. The students combine the science theory learnt at the university to the sustainable goals and how to work towards the sustainable goal of clean water. The students experience action competence. The study implies that deep learning has occurred on the teachers to be. They express their plans of how they will use this learning to work directly with sustainability in their future jobs as schoolteachers and early childhood teachers. The course is for international students in their bachelor year in the teacher training or their early childhood training. The students come from countries like, France, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Ukraine and Norway. The students are studying outdoor learning.
Impact: Every teacher will be a role model to hundreds of children in need to learn knowledge and skills for the green shift. Working directly with the sustainable goals in education may influence a new generation in how they act as environmental participants, their choice of education and future jobs. Research on quality science education may gain value to science teaching on a local as well as a global level