About Erasmus+ and VIRTUE-s

VIRTUE-s is a 3-year project funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union 2017 - 2020 with 310 000 euro.

The VIRTUE-s project partners are:
University of Gothenburg (Sweden) (Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences)
University West (Sweden)
Öckerö Seglande Gymnasieskola (Sweden)
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Maryland Sea Grant (USA)
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel (Germany)
Hebbelschule (Kiel, Germany)
SUBMON (Barcelona, Spain)
Daina Isard (Barcelona, Spain)

The VIRTUE-s project focuses on developing innovative, digital and practical tools to increase the quality of teaching natural sciences using ocean-based examples with a project-based learning framework. This project answers the call for innovative learning designs, which are required due to changes in the teaching profession as schools and societies have become more digitalized.

VIRTUE-s has eight partners (five scientific partners and three school partners) from Sweden, Germany, Spain and USA. The project will provide a platform for expanding classroom pedagogy, including project-based science, with integrated fieldwork where pupils can drive research inquiries and questions by designing experiments to study marine biodiversity. This will provide the students greater engagement in their work on a much more personal level and teambased approach. In this project, students and teachers will also participate in European collaborative media literacy learning experiences, which will give them opportunities to discuss global environmental issues and to understand similarities and differences in biodiversity in the ocean surrounding Europe.

VIRTUE-s will create innovative teaching packages with digital elements, an interactive biodiversity calculator, a training workshop on media literacy, a handbook on “how to produce collaborative media productions” and teacher training courses, including a Massive Open Online Course on biofouling and Ocean Literacy. The existing database, VIRTUEDATA, will be updated, improved and made accessible in five languages (English, Swedish, Catalan, Spanish and German). A 5-day summer institute will be organized for representatives of the students from the partner schools.

The VIRTUE-s impact will lead to teachers being better equipped and more confident in using ICT tools. They will achieve a higher digital competence and can introduce innovative ocean-related elements and tools in the classroom. The teachers will also be able to link their teaching to the United Nations sustainable development goals and to connect their students with EU goals (e.g. equip/educate students to prepare for future job markets within the Blue Growth sector). Students will be engaged by the hands-on and novel ICT elements of VIRTUE-s. 

They will work in teams, which will develop their social competences and increase self-awareness as well as their team-mates’ importance in producing a successful project. They will benefit from connecting across borders to discuss topics that we all have in common, (such as biodiversity, climate change, ocean pollution, future/survival of the oceans and its sustainability). This will increase student awareness that to achieve a sustainable ocean ecosystem we need to work together.