|Ph.D Student||Morag Orly|
|Subject||Educational Activity in Nature Parks and Archeology Sites in|
Israel: Patterns, Perceptions and Learning in
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Tali Tal|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
The importance of field trips and outdoor activitivies has been recognized worldwide as well as in Israel and has been part of the Israeli school curriculum. This has led to a lot of research on out-of-school activities. This research has mainly investigated cognitive and affective outcomes, and no research has taken a systemic approach that includes the various stages of the activity and its content and pedagogical components. Furthermore there still exists a fundamental difficulty in assessing the productivity of field trips, and there is no model by which to plan or evaluate the trip as a whole. The purpose of this study was to investigate learning that occurs in field trips to natural parks as well as to explore the nature of the educational activities that emphasize awareness to the importance of nature conservation.
The study is based on theories in Outdoor Education and Environmental Education. It also relies on Place-based educational theory.
In this mixed method study, the data was gathered by observations, interviews and questionnaires. Twenty-two daily field trips, guided by a major environmental-organization were investigated, in which fourth to sixth graders of diverse school settings (urban, suburban and Kibbutz schools) participated. A continuous environmental education program conducted in a fifth grade class of 28 students was studied as well to identify differences and commonalities with the daily activities. The informants included students, guides, teachers and key personnel from the environmental-organization. Analysis of the data relied on the abovementioned literature as well as inductively emerging categories so as to produce an integrated and whole appreciation of the research.
One of the major novelties of the research was the development of the Field-trips in Natural Environments (FiNE) Model; a model that allows the planning and evaluation of educational activity with all of its components from the different perspectives of the researcher and participants. The development of this model was based on research literature and data gathered in this study. Data analysis by means of this model enabled the articulation of many of the findings.
The findings in this study contribute to the theoretical knowledge on learning processes of young students in nature and the outcomes of these processes. The study can also practically aid in the generation of educational activities in the outdoors. Further study should explore the background factors such as socio-economic status and previous experiences in the outdoors and their impact on the learning experience.