The Sustainable backpack

The Sustainable backpack, is a national priory initiated by the Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Climate and Environment to support Norwegian schools to implement Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The Directorate for Education and Training and The Norwegian Environment Agency are given the responsibility of implementing the Sustainable backpack in concert with the Norwegian Center for Science Education.

The Sustainable backpack organization

Since the Sustainable backpack was launched in 2009 it has been administered, carried out and developed by the Norwegian Center for Science Education. In later years a resource group consisting of six science teacher educators collaborates with the center in the work supervising and train teachers in ESD.

The main aim of the Sustainable backpack is to increase awareness, understanding and competencies in and for sustainable development to teachers and students in primary and secondary education.

Schools can apply the Sustainable backpack for support (financial and teacher training) to develop and implement sustainable development projects or programs. By attending the Sustainable backpack the teachers becomes a part of a professional learning community for ESD. In these network teachers meet other teachers and their supervisors three times a year. The first meeting is a national conference for all teachers in the beginning of the school year, followed up by regional network meetings in the autumn and the spring. At these network meetings the teachers get scientific (relevant science topics) and pedagogical content training in addition to supervision on the ESD projects or programs they develop and conduct at their school.

Requirements to ESD projects or programs supported by the Sustainable backpack is that the teaching is inquiry-based and inter- or multi-disciplinary, and that part of the teaching is carried out at alternative learning arenas (outside classroom). The schools are also encouraged to collaborate with external partners like local community, NGOs, museums, businesses in their local community. Requirements to the teachers participating in the Sutainable backback is that they participate in the national conference and the two network meetings. In additional are they obliged to describe their project/program so it can be communicated to others. The obligation to the school (school-leader) is to facilitate for the teachers to meet and work inter- or multi-disciplinary at the school and to make a plan for permanent establishment of the project/program at the school.

 

Reports on some results from survey and interviews contributed in the Sustainable backpack:

Researchers at the Norwegian Center for Science Education have reported on how the Sustainable backpack has succeeded in implementing Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Norwegian schools. An abstract from one of these presentations and the presentation of the results is linked on the right.

Researchers at the Norwegian Center for Science Education have also reported on how a rural secondary school in Norway, supported by the Sustainable backpack has implemented Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). An abstract from one of these presentations and the presentation of the results is linked on the right.