Appropedia as a Tool for Service Learning in Sustainable Development

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Date
2009
Authors
Pearce, Joshua M.
Keyword
service learning , open source appropriate technology , sustainable development , sustainability
Abstract
Numerous studies have demonstrated that university students are capable of contributing to sustainable development while improving their academic skills. Unfortunately for many institutions, the expense of sending large cohorts of students on international service learning trips is prohibitive. Yet, students remain enthusiastic and well equipped to assist in sustainable development. This article reports on two pedagogical experiments in service learning that overcame this challenge by providing solutions to sustainable development problems using Appropedia.org, the site for collaborative solutions in sustainability, poverty reduction and international development. The course successfully used Appropedia (1) as a forum for students who were geographically dispersed, (2) for a whole-class writing collaboration, (3) to coordinate a sustainability-focussed outreach campaign to retrofit stop lights in communities throughout Pennsylvania and (4) to review class material with application to technologies for sustainable development.
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