BGCI Education Blog

We've set up this blog to talk about education, the environment, plants, the universe... oh yes, and botanic gardens. You can join in by leaving comments and signing up for email updates.

Friday, 22 December 2006

Happy Christmas

So, its the season of festivities and celebrations. Hooray, after the autumn the education department has had, it will be such a relief. First there was the education congress - which was excellent. Check out the reports on the BGCI website and the proceedings if you didn't get to it yourself. Then, there was the International Diploma course in education in botanic gardens - 13 participants from 12 countries. We went everywhere with them, Eden Project, Barnes Wetland Centre, Chelsea Physic Garden, even the Globe theatre.

In the middle of all that I has exams, modules on ecological management and sustainable development - approaches and indicators, for a post graduate certificate in sustainable development. This is a distance learning programme run by Imperial College, London. It ahas been really interesting studying for it - not only the subject, but also to understand how these distance learning courses go. Once a year in the post I receive a pack - a folder, a CD Rom, text books and further reading materials. My course I print out from the CD Rom (I can't read from computer screens, it bugs me) and away I go - 10 hours study per week for 30-odd weeks. I'm sure its more work than I ever did for my Master's degree - and its only a third of a Masters! Then in October I sit one 2-hour exam for each module. I just found out today, I have passed this year's modules- thank goodness!

Its interesting, as there are hundreds of us, studying the same topic, all over the world - but we never meet! There is an on-line discussion and study area, but it is under-used as a resource, I have been too scared to join in the discussions so far - even though I have questions on the materials too.

These are the kinds of things we will have to bear in mind if we decide to progress with the idea of developing a distance learning programme for environmental education - participants at the Education Congress were asked about it, and 70 % said they were interested. We will need a lot of work to develop this further, working in partnership with other capacity building organisation, maybe a university, maybe other botanic gardens, and definitely some funders! But it would be interesting to give it a go, and be more environmentally friendly than sending trainers overseas to run training courses.

What do you think? Would you be interested in participating in a distance learning programme examining environmental education - master planning, evaluation, theory, philosophy, practical aspects, everything you could need to set up your own education centre? What would you want to get out of it and how would you want it to look - on the internet, on CD Rom, on paper...the possibilities are vast!

In the meantime, have a great Christmas if you are celebrating and an engaging New Year. I'm off to the beautiful New Forest for some walking and feasting. Until 2007!


Diane Wyse Jackson said...

Well done Sarah for continuing to give us news and encouragement via this Blog. Like you on your distant learning course - it takes courage to enter into discussion and post an item.

As yet - it appears that the Botanic Garden Community are quite shy when it comes to electronic communications. However that does not mean that we don't enjoy reading about what you and the Educational Department in BGCI are up to.

Well done and Keep on Blogging

Orlik said...

Hi Sarah,

Why didn't you tell me about this blog? It's a very good idea, I guess. Congratulations. I've seen that you're the main contributor.

Let me tell you that when we were at Oxford, during the meeting of Latin American network, I just proposed them to make a blog...and I did it!... But it happened (and still happens), very few people write... I'm still convinced that it's a nice tool...

Keep on with the blog!!

Orlik said...

Hi again Sarah,

And again, this is interesting. I've the chance to take a distance learnig programme about Management of Natural Protected Areas, coordinated by FAO, through Chile and Spain. You´re right, it was a lot of work, spending time for studying, but material were high quality. A very nice experience!

So, let me tell you that I would like to take an environmental education in botanic gardens distance programme too.

Have a nice day