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Paper presented at the international Council for Educational Media Conference, Vienna, Austria, 2004.
Environmental identity or how we orient ourselves to the natural world, leads us to
personalize abstract global issues and take action (or not) according to our sense of who
we are. Indeed, the often emotional nature of environmental conflicts can be associated
with our sense of personal and social identity. Are we willing to give up our SUV for a
more fuel-efficient car albeit our knowledge about the enhanced greenhouse effect?
(Clayton and Opotow, 2003). In an era where web-based student-centred inquiry is
gaining popularity as a mode of teaching and learning about environmental issues and
potentially developing students’ environmental identities, the role of digital libraries as
delivery trucks (terminology by Clark, 1983) needs to be understood better. An obvious
affordance of such a digital library is that it organizes information around themes for
problems to be solved. A developmental project to build a first digital library for
Geographical assets was undertaken. This digital library (G-Portal) serves an active role in
a collaborative learning activity in which the students conduct a field study of an
environmental problem, within a geospatial context – in this case, beach erosion and sea
level rise. G-Portal not only functions as a digital library of information resources, it also
provides manipulation and analytical tools that can be used on the information provided.
The concept of personal project space allows individuals to work in their personalized
environment with a mix of private and public data and at the same time share part of the
data with their team members. This allows students to explore the information, process
the information, solve the problem posed and perhaps even form new understandings
and reflections of their role in the natural environment.
Project number: 
CRP 39/03 CCH
Appears in Collections:CRPP - Conference Papers

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