Tools for Identifying Biodiversity:
Progress and Problems
Pier Luigi Nimis and Régine Vignes Lebbe (eds.)
9 788883 032950




Tools for Identifying Biodiversity:
Progress and Problems
Pier Luigi Nimis and Régine Vignes Lebbe (ed...
All content is copyrighted by the individual authors of the contributions and licensed
under the Creative Commons Attribut...
Scientific committee
     Nicolas Bailly (Philippines)
    Daniel Barthélémy (France)
  Frank Bisby (United Kingdom)
  Wal...
foreword

  The correct identification of organisms is fundamental not only for the
assessment and the conservation of bio...
The scientific program of the congress was subdivided into four sessions:


 •    Interactive identification tools based o...
table of contentS
Devising the EDIT Platform for Cybertaxonomy ............................................... 1
Walter G....
Identification with iterative nearest neighbors using domain knowledge ........ 71
David Grosser, Noël Conruyt, Henri Rala...
eFlora and DialGraph, tools for enhancing identification processes
in plants ................................................
VeSTIS: A Versatile Semi-Automatic Taxon Identification System
from Digital Images...........................................
Mislabelling in megrims: implications for conservation ................................. 315
Victor Crego-Prieto, Daniel C...
Digital Tools in the Botanical Garden of Madrid............................................ 373
Marina Ferrer, Esther Garc...
Nimis P. L., Vignes Lebbe R. (eds.)
Tools for Identifying Biodiversity: Progress and Problems – pp. 355-360.
ISBN 978-88-8...
2 the uSe of a learning management SyStem aS a learning
platform for the creation of effective ScenarioS
  The identificat...
•   Produce an electronic “Profile of a tree”, following a predefined structure,
         by using the information previou...
- without using it after the training.
  The aim of the course was to test the developed curriculum and to receive
feedbac...
category is the most important with respect to the assessment of the course
design.

5.2 free-form opinion Survey

  In th...
acknowledgement

   This work has been supported by the KeyToNature project, ECP-2006-EDU-410019,
in the frame of the eCon...
An assignment-based e‑learning course on the use of KeyToNature e-keys
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An assignment-based e‑learning course on the use of KeyToNature e-keys

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Mihnev, P. and Raycheva, N. (2010) "An assignment-based e‑learning course on the use
of KeyToNature e-keys".
In Nimis, P.L. and Lebbe R.V. (Eds.) (2010). "Tools for Identifying Biodiversity: Progress and Problems", Proceedings of the International Congress Paris, France, September 20-22, 2010
Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle – Grand Amphithéâtre. ISBN 978-88-8303-295-0,
EUT - Edizioni Università di Trieste, Trieste, Italy.

ABSTRACT:
This article conceptualises a common approach to train teachers and university lecturers in integrating the use of e-keys produced by the EU-funded project KeyToNature in the design, development, and delivery of e-learning modules within their school practice. The approach is based on setting and administering learning scenarios developed around real practice assignments that have at their core the identification of organisms and end up with the creation of meaningful biodiversity information products, rooted in concrete environmental contexts. The learning products may even include the creation of specific sub-keys from the initially used e-keys. The paper briefly describes the application and the real testing of the approach in an experimental teacher training course conducted in Bulgaria within the
KeyToNature project.

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  1. 1. Tools for Identifying Biodiversity: Progress and Problems Pier Luigi Nimis and Régine Vignes Lebbe (eds.)
  2. 2. 9 788883 032950 Tools for Identifying Biodiversity: Progress and Problems Pier Luigi Nimis and Régine Vignes Lebbe (eds.) Proceedings of the International Congress Paris, September 20-22, 2010 Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle – Grand Amphithéâtre
  3. 3. All content is copyrighted by the individual authors of the contributions and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License (CC by-sa 3.0). EUT 2010. Information in this book does not represent the opinion of the European Community and the European Community is not responsible for any use that might be made of it. ISBN 978-88-8303-295-0 EUT - Edizioni Università di Trieste Via E. Weiss, 21 – 34128 Trieste http://eut.units.it Cover and layout: Rodolfo Riccamboni, Divulgando S.r.l. – www.divulgando.eu Printed in Italy by Studio Pixart S.r.l., Via I Maggio, 8, I – 30020 Quarto d’Altino, VENEZIA.
  4. 4. Scientific committee Nicolas Bailly (Philippines) Daniel Barthélémy (France) Frank Bisby (United Kingdom) Walter Berendsohn (Germany) Gudmundur Gudmundsson (Iceland) Gregor Hagedorn (Germany) Bill Hominick (United Kingdom) Christian Kittl (Austria) Maurizio Casiraghi (Italy) Noel Conruyt (La Réunion, France) Martin Grube (Austria) Massimo Labra (Italy) Karol Marhold (Slovak Republic) Anastasia Miliou (Greece) Andrea M. Mulrenin (Austria) Pier Luigi Nimis (Italy) Bob Press (United Kingdom) Dave Roberts (United Kingdom) Peter Schalk (Netherlands) Edwin van Spronsen (Netherlands) Régine Vignes Lebbe (France) organiSing committee Coordinators: Pier Luigi Nimis Régine Vignes Lebbe Members: Léa Bled Florian Causse Vanessa Demanoff Zoulika Labghiel Visotheary Rivière-Ung Stefano Martellos Rodolfo Riccamboni Maxime Venin i
  5. 5. foreword The correct identification of organisms is fundamental not only for the assessment and the conservation of biodiversity, but also in agriculture, forestry, the food and pharmaceutical industries, forensic biology, and in the broad field of formal and informal education at all levels. However, since the first Meeting of the Systematics Association on «Biological identification with computers», in 1973, few scientific events have been dedicated to this subject. Furthermore, taxonomists, workers in biodiversity informatics, and the large community of users are rarely all gathered together. Since the 1990s, the number of projects developing information repositories has greatly increased: Fishbase, GBIF, Species 2000, OBIS, EuroMed- PlantBase, Fauna Europaea, EoL etc. to cite only some of them. Until now, identification tools were poorly represented in such systems. This is already changing, and Fishbase is a good example illustrating the need to include identification facilities with biodiversity databases, and to adapt the keys to different types of users. International conferences on biodiversity research, tools and methods using ICT, are becoming more and more numerous. In the last decades, important advances have taken place in the ways identification is carried out, from molecular and biochemical methods of rapid identification to the development of interactive identification systems based on morpho-anatomical data. The effort to propose and to popularize identification tools using all types of biological characters (sequences, morphology, images, sounds etc.) must be continued. The event «Tools for identifying biodiversity: progress and problems» offers an opportunity to provide an overview of recent advances in this field. It aims at stimulating integration of existing methods and systems, fostering communication amongst different research groups, and laying the foundations for integrated projects in the next decade. The congress was organised jointly by three large European projects dedicated to biodiversity and/or biological identification: KeyToNature, EDIT (European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy), and STERNA (Semantic Web-based Thematic European Reference Network Application). iii
  6. 6. The scientific program of the congress was subdivided into four sessions: • Interactive identification tools based on morpho-anatomical data • Molecular and biochemical methods for the identification of organisms • Identification and education • Industrial and practical applications of the new identification tools: case- studies and markets In this book, the reader will find short presentations of current and upcoming projects (EDIT, KeyToNature, STERNA, Species 2000, Fishbase, BHL, ViBRANT, etc.), plus a large panel of short articles on software, taxonomic applications, use of e-keys in the educational field, and practical applications. Single-access keys are now available on most recent electronic devices; the collaborative and semantic web opens new ways to develop and to share applications; the automatic processing of molecular data and images is now based on validated systems; identification tools appear as an efficient support for environmental education and training; the monitoring of invasive and protected species and the study of climate change require intensive identifications of specimens, which opens new markets for identification research. Pier Luigi Nimis, Régine Vignes Lebbe Trieste – Paris, September 2010 v
  7. 7. table of contentS Devising the EDIT Platform for Cybertaxonomy ............................................... 1 Walter G. Berendsohn Descriptive Data in the EDIT Platform for Cybertaxonomy .............................. 7 Maxime Venin, Agnes Kirchhoff, Hélène Fradin, Anton Güntsch, Niels Hoffmann, Andreas Kohlbecker, Elise Kuntzelmann,Ôna Maiocco, Andreas Müller, Régine Vignes Lebbe, Walter G. Berendsohn An online authoring and publishing platform for field guides and identification tools .................................................................................... 13 Gregor Hagedorn, Gisela Weber, Andreas Plank, Mircea Giurgiu, Andrei Homodi, Cornelia Veja, Gerd Schmidt, Pencho Mihnev, Manol Roujinov, Dagmar Triebel, Robert A. Morris, Bernhard Zelazny, Edwin van Spronsen, Peter Schalk, Christian Kittl, Robert Brandner, Stefano Martellos, Pier Luigi Nimis A search tool for the digital biodiversity resources of KeyToNature ............... 19 Mircea Giurgiu, Andrei Homodi, Cornelia Veja, Gregor Hagedorn, Pier Luigi Nimis Developing Web-based Search Portals on Birds for Different Target Groups ............................................................................. 25 Renate Steinmann, Andreas Strasser, Andrea Mulrenin, Amy Trayler, Sander Pieterse, Ivan Teage, Michael De Giovanni, John J. Borg, Noel Zammit Simple Identification Tools in FishBase .......................................................... 31 Nicolas Bailly, Rodolfo Reyes Jr., Rachel Atanacio, Rainer Froese The Catalogue of Life: towards an integrative taxonomic backbone for biodiversity ................................................................................................ 37 Frank A. Bisby, Yuri R. Roskov BHL-EUROPE: Biodiversity Heritage Library for Europe ............................... 43 Jana Hoffmann, Henning Scholz A Pan-European Species-directories Infrastructure (PESI) ............................ 49 Yde de Jong ViBRANT–Virtual Biodiversity Research and Access Network for Taxonomy .................................................................................................. 53 Dave Roberts, Vince Smith Identifications in BioPortals™ ........................................................................ 55 Wouter Addink, Edwin van Spronsen, Peter H. Schalk Types of identification keys............................................................................. 59 Gregor Hagedorn, Gerhard Rambold, Stefano Martellos Learning, Identifying, Sharing ......................................................................... 65 Philippe A. Martin, Noël Conruyt, David Grosser vii
  8. 8. Identification with iterative nearest neighbors using domain knowledge ........ 71 David Grosser, Noël Conruyt, Henri Ralambondrainy A MediaWiki implementation of single-access keys ....................................... 77 Gregor Hagedorn, Bob Press, Sonia Hetzner, Andreas Plank, Gisela Weber, Sabine von Mering, Stefano Martellos, Pier Luigi Nimis Simple matrix keys from Excel spreadsheets ................................................. 83 Gregor Hagedorn, Mircea Giurgiu, Andrei Homodi Wiki keys on mobile devices........................................................................... 89 Gisela Weber, Gregor Hagedorn A Wiki-based Key to Garden and Village Birds .............................................. 95 Tomi Trilar Wiki-keys for the ferns of the Flora of Equatorial Guinea ............................... 99 Francisco Cabezas, Carlos Aedo, Patricia Barberá, Manuel De la Estrella, Maximiliano Fero, Mauricio Velayos MyKey: a server-side software to create customized decision trees ............ 107 David Gérard, Régine Vignes Lebbe Xper²: managing descriptive data from their collection to e-monographs .... 113 Visotheary Ung, Florian Causse, Régine Vignes Lebbe FRIDA 3.0 Multi-authored digital identification keys in the Web ................... 115 Stefano Martellos Flora Bellissima, an expert software to discover botany and identify plants......................................................................................... 121 Thierry Pernot, Daniel Mathieu Modifiable digital identification keys ............................................................ 127 Edwin van Spronsen, Stefano Martellos, Dennis Seijts, Peter Schalk, Pier Luigi Nimis The Open Key Player: A new approach for online interaction and user-tracking in identification keys......................................................... 133 Mircea Giurgiu, Andrei Homodi, Edwin van Spronsen, Stefano Martellos, Pier Luigi Nimis Improvement of identification keys by user-tracking..................................... 137 Gerd Schmidt, Mircea Giurgiu, Sónia Hetzner, Fred Neumann ARIES: an expert system supporting legislative tasks. Identifying animal materials using the Linnaeus II software ........................ 145 Leo W.D. van Raamsdonk An integrated system for producing user-specific keys on demand: an application to Italian lichens..................................................................... 151 Juri Nascimbene, Stefano Martellos, Pier Luigi Nimis “Flora Italiana Digitale”: an interactive identification tool for the Flora of Italy .................................... 157 Riccardo Guarino, Sabina Addamiano, Marco La Rosa, Sandro Pignatti viii
  9. 9. eFlora and DialGraph, tools for enhancing identification processes in plants ........................................................................................................ 163 Fernando Sánchez Laulhé, Cecilio Cano Calonge, Antonio Jiménez Montaño A catalogue of bird bones: an exercise in semantic web practice ................ 171 Gudmundur Gudmundsson, Seth D. Brewington, Thomas H. McGovern, Aevar Petersen Anthos.es: 10 years showing Spanish plant diversity information in the Internet................................................................................................ 177 Leopoldo Medina, Carlos Aedo An interactive tool for the identification of airborne and food fungi ............... 183 Giovanna Cristina Varese, Antonella Anastasi, Samuele Voyron, Valeria Filipello Marchisio The Estonian eFlora ..................................................................................... 189 Tiina Randlane, Malle Leht, Andres Saag Keys to plants and lichens on smartphones: Estonian examples ................ 195 Andres Saag, Tiina Randlane, Malle Leht IIKC: An Interactive Identification Key for female Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) from the West Palearctic region ....................... 201 Bruno Mathieu, Catherine Cêtre-Sossah, Claire Garros, David Chavernac, Thomas Balenghien, Régine Vignes Lebbe, Visotheary Ung, Ermanno Candolfi, Jean-Claude Delécolle Indochinese bamboos: biodiversity informatics to assist the identification of “vernacular taxa”....................................................................................... 207 My Hanh Diep Thi, Régine Vignes Lebbe, Ha Phuong Nguyen, Bich Loan Nguyen Thi Identification tools as part of Feedsafety research: the case of ragwort ...... 213 Leo W.D. van Raamsdonk, Patrick Mulder, Michel Uiterwijk Two identification tools applied on Mascarene’s corals genera (Xper2) and species (IKBS) ....................................................................................... 217 Yannick Geynet, Noël Conruyt, David Grosser, Gérard Faure, David Caron Interactive, illustrated, plant identification keys: an example for the Portuguese flora ................................................................................ 219 Maria Helena Abreu Silva, Rosa Maria Ferreira Pinho, Lísia Graciete, Martins Pereira Lopes, Paulo Cardoso da Silveira The ORCHIS software used to identify 100 orchids species of Lao PDR .... 221 Pierre Bonnet, André Schuiteman, Boukhaykhone Svengsuksa, Daniel Barthélémy, Vichith Lamxay, Soulivanh Lanorsavanh, Khamfa Chanthavongsa, Pierre Grard A collaborative and distributed identification tool for plants ......................... 223 Philippe Laroche Alternative 2D and 3D Form Characterization Approaches to the Automated Identification of Biological Species ................................... 225 Norman MacLeod ix
  10. 10. VeSTIS: A Versatile Semi-Automatic Taxon Identification System from Digital Images....................................................................................... 231 Nikos Nikolaou, Pantelis Sampaziotis, Marilena Aplikioti, Andreas Drakos, Ioannis Kirmitzoglou, Marina Argyrou, Nikos Papamarkos, Vasilis J. Promponas Iterative Search with Local Visual Features for Computer Assisted Plant Identification ................................................................................................. 237 Wajih Ouertani, Pierre Bonnet, Michel Crucianu, Nozha Boujemaa, Daniel Barthélémy Image data banks and geometric morphometrics ....................................... 243 Anna Loy, Dennis E. Slice Outline analysis for identifying Limodorum species from seeds ................... 249 Sara Magrini, Sergio Buono, Emanuele Gransinigh, Massimiliano Rempicci, Silvano Onofri, Anna Scoppola Geometric morphometrics as a tool to resolve taxonomic problems: the case of Ophioglossum species (ferns) ................................................... 251 Sara Magrini, Anna Scoppola Geometric morphometric analysis as a tool to explore covariation between shape and other quantitative leaf traits in European white oaks ... 257 Vincenzo Viscosi, Anna Loy, Paola Fortini Landmark based morphometric variation in Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis L.,1758) .......................................................................... 263 Paola Nicolosi, Anna Loy DNA barcoding: theoretical aspects and practical applications .................... 269 Maurizio Casiraghi, Massimo Labra, Emanuele Ferri, Andrea Galimberti, Fabrizio De Mattia Strength and Limitations of DNA Barcode under the Multidimensional Species Perspective ......................................... 275 Valerio Sbordoni DNA Barcoding and Phylogeny of Patellids from Asturias (Northern Spain) ........................................................................................... 281 Yaisel Juan Borrell, Fernando Romano, Emilia Vázquez, Gloria Blanco, Jose Antonio Sánchez Prado Molecular Identification of Italian Mouse-eared Bats (genus Myotis) .............................................................................................. 289 Andrea Galimberti, Adriano Martinoli, Danilo Russo, Mauro Mucedda, Maurizio Casiraghi Identifying algal symbionts in lichen symbioses ........................................... 295 Martin Grube, Lucia Muggia Identification of polymorphic species within groups of morphologically conservative taxa: combining morphological and molecular techniques ...... 301 Kim Larsen, Elsa Froufe Coffee species and varietal identification ..................................................... 307 Patrizia Tornincasa, Michela Furlan, Alberto Pallavicini, Giorgio Graziosi x
  11. 11. Mislabelling in megrims: implications for conservation ................................. 315 Victor Crego-Prieto, Daniel Campo, Juliana Perez, Eva Garcia-Vazquez Seeds in subtribe Orchidinae (Orchidaceae): the best morphological tool to support molecular analyses .......................... 323 Roberto Gamarra, Emma Ortúñez, Ernesto Sanz, Iris Esparza, Pablo Galán Lentils biodiversity: the characterization of two local landraces ................... 327 Vincenzo Viscosi, Manuela Ialicicco, Mariapina Rocco, Dalila Trupiano, Simona Arena, Donato Chiatante, Andrea Scaloni, Gabriella Stefania Scippa A model study for tardigrade identification.................................................... 333 Roberto Bertolani, Lorena Rebecchi, Michele Cesari DNA Barcoding of Philippine plants .............................................................. 341 Esperanza Maribel G. Agoo Molecular and ecophysiological characterisation of the Tunisian bee: Apis mellifera intermissa ........................................................................ 343 Mohamed Chouchene, Naima Barbouche, Lionel Garnery, Michel Baylac Biological identifications through mitochondrial and nuclear molecular markers: the case of commercially important crabs from Indian EEZ .......... 345 Sherine Sonia Cubelio, K. K. Bineesh, K. Raj, Suraj Tewari, Achamveettil Gopalakrishnan, Valaparambil Saidumohammad Basheer, Wazir Singh Lakra Barcoding Fauna Bavarica – Capturing Central European Animal Diversity ............................................................................................ 347 Lars Hendrich, Michael Balke, Gerhard Haszprunar, Axel Hausmann, Paul Hebert, Stefan Schmidt Molecular techniques for identifying North Sea fauna .................................. 349 Thomas Knebelsberger, Sandra Ditzler, Silke Laakmann, Inga Mohrbeck, Michael J. Raupach DNA Bank Network – connecting biological collections and sequence databases by long-term DNA storage with online accession........................ 351 Matthias Geiger, Nicolas Straube Mitochondrial DNA sequences for forensic identification of the endangered whale shark, Rhincodon typus (Smith, 1828): A Case study ........................ 353 Kavungal Abdulkhadar Sajeela, Chandran Rakhee, Janardanan Nair Rekha, Achamveettil Gopalakrishnan, Valaparambil Saidumohammad Basheer, Joe Kizhakkudan Shoba, Kizhakkudan Joe, Wazir Singh Lakra An assignment-based e-learning course on the use of KeyToNature e-keys ................................................................................. 355 Pencho Mihnev, Nadezhda Raycheva User needs for interactive identification tools to organisms employed in the EU-Project KeyToNature ................................................... 361 Astrid Tarkus, Emanuel Maxl, Christian Kittl Teaching biodiversity with online identification tools from KeyToNature: a comparative study ..................................................................................... 367 Felicia Boar, Adelhaida Kerekes xi
  12. 12. Digital Tools in the Botanical Garden of Madrid............................................ 373 Marina Ferrer, Esther García Use of KeyToNature Identification Tools in the Schools of Slovenia ............ 379 Irena Kodele Krašna New key-tools for pollen identification in research and education ................ 383 Jade Dupont, Nathalie Combourieu Nebout, Jean-Pierre Cazet, Florian Causse, Régine Vignes Lebbe The UK urban tree survey ............................................................................ 389 Bob Press Tree School – A new Innovation for Science and Education ........................ 395 Della Hopkins, Karen James Engaging Schools in Cutting Edge Science: From the Educator’s Perspective ................................................................. 401 Adrian Richardson, Della Hopkins Educational or emotional languages? An interactive experiment with the Lucanian flora (S-Italy) .......................... 405 Riccardo Guarino, Patrizia Menegoni, Sandro Pignatti Online sharing educational content on biodiversity topics: a case study from organic agriculture and agroecology .................................................... 411 Nikos Palavitsinis, Nikos Manouselis, Kostas Kastrantas, John Stoitsis, Xenofon Tsilibaris JSTOR Plant Science ................................................................................... 417 Michael Sean Gallagher ecoBalade: Towards a workflow for Citizen Science Nature Trails .............. 419 Julie Chabalier, Khaled Talbi, Patrick Peters, Amandine Sahl, Olivier Coullet, Olivier Assunçao, Olivier Rovellotti Electronic data recording tools and identifying species in the field ..................................................................................................... 421 Alexander Kroupa, Anke Hoffmann, Juan Carlos Monje, Christoph L. Häuser Cost Assessment of the Field Measurement of Biodiversity: a Farm-scale Case Study ............................................................................. 423 Stefano Targetti, Davide Viaggi, David Cuming Markets for biodiversity information products: real or imaginary? ................ 429 Bill Hominick, Peter Schalk A Basic Business Model for Commercial Application of Identification Tools .................................................................................... 437 Christian Kittl, Peter Schalk, Nicola Dorigo Salamon, Stefano Martellos Keys to Nature: A test on the iPhone market ................................................ 445 Rodolfo Riccamboni, Alessio Mereu, Chiara Boscarol author index ................................................................................................. 451 xii
  13. 13. Nimis P. L., Vignes Lebbe R. (eds.) Tools for Identifying Biodiversity: Progress and Problems – pp. 355-360. ISBN 978-88-8303-295-0. EUT, 2010. An assignment-based e-learning course on the use of KeyToNature e-keys Pencho Mihnev, Nadezhda Raycheva Abstract — This article conceptualises a common approach to train teachers and university lecturers in integrating the use of e-keys produced by the EU-funded project KeyToNature in the design, development, and delivery of e-learning modules within their school practice. The approach is based on setting and administering learning scenarios developed around real practice assignments that have at their core the identification of organisms and end up with the creation of meaningful biodiversity information products, rooted in concrete environmental contexts. The learning products may even include the creation of specific sub-keys from the initially used e-keys. The paper briefly describes the application and the real testing of the approach in an experimental teacher training course conducted in Bulgaria within the KeyToNature project. Index Terms — active learning, assignment, biodiversity, e-keys, e-learning course, identification tools, learning design, teacher training. —————————— u —————————— 1 introduction T he KeyToNature project shares a big variety of electronic identification tools and instruments for their handling in different modes and on different hardware and software platforms. Using and integrating these tools within different learning scenarios and contexts is a concrete task of the teachers. Some or all stages of the applied learning scenarios and the resulting final products are often not digitised, which has obvious negative effects. Another consideration related to the digitisation is the use of different e-tools not pertaining to a united system. This complicates the organisation of learning, leads to efficiency issues, and may lower the re-usage potential of the achieved results. ———————————————— P. Mihnev is with BIKAM Ltd., 46, Oborishte str., Sofia 1505, Bulgaria. E-mail: pmihnev@gmail. com – N. Raycheva is with the Department for In-Service Teacher Training, Sofia University “St. Kl. Ohridski”, 224, Tzar Boris III bld., Sofia, Bulgaria. E-mail: raycheva.n@gmail.com. 355
  14. 14. 2 the uSe of a learning management SyStem aS a learning platform for the creation of effective ScenarioS The identification process is “a means to an end”, not “the end” itself. An implication about learning by using identification tools is that the identification needs to be integrated in wider contexts of meaningful learning scenarios. Designing good scenarios requires good pedagogical skills, knowledge of the subject matter, adequate technological skills, and the availability of technological facilities for implementation. A scenario should also reflect the active learning and motivational findings researched and described by learning and motivation theories, e.g. [1], [2], and [3]. The identification process is per se an active learning. The keys themselves become more complex, integrating add-ons that facilitate re-usage and complex learning activities. In order to maximise the positive effects of the e-keys, one can use the support of e-learning platforms. A newer and richer concept about the use of e-learning platforms is that activities and not the content are in the core of an e-learning platform. This concept directly corresponds both to the active learning methods and to the creation of contexts which exploit positive motivation factors. Another feature of all widespread e-learning platforms is the inter-linkage of all resources, activities, communication, organisation, and assessment tools within the platform. This enables more complex learning events and activities to be organised and conducted as a “learning whole”. The authors have designed an experimental curriculum for teacher training to develop and use e-learning modules for students having as their core activity identification processes based on the use of e-keys. The Moodle learning management system (e-learning platform) was chosen for the concrete course design. The main teacher training target group consisted of biology teachers that have average ICT-skills, are able to work with e-keys, but are not trained to work with any e-learning platform. We have chosen to use only a few, but very important and powerful e-tools of the platform (resources and activities) that can add real value in the implementation of meaningful learning scenarios for the use of e-keys. 3 the teacher training curriculum – the courSe Study programme The teacher training course curriculum consisted of two main parts: the first part puts the teacher in a student role to alter her/his viewpoint in experiencing learning. The second part trains teachers on how to construct and conduct an e-Learning course. The first part is based on Assignment 1: “As a trainee in the first part of this course you - preferably in a team of 2 to 3 persons - should: 356
  15. 15. • Produce an electronic “Profile of a tree”, following a predefined structure, by using the information previously entered for that purpose by your team in the e-learning platform. • Publish and present in an attractive and appealing way your electronic “Profile of a tree” by using the tools and instruments of the e-learning platform. • Edit and complement the identification key with collected and/or personally developed material.” This assignment consists of activities in two different environments: in the field and in the classroom. Activities in the filed include tree identification with the e-key and observation of the characteristics that are used to identify it. Activities in the classroom include working on the structure of a tree profile and editing a e-key. The tree profile describes the following information: 1. Name of the tree: Latin, Bulgarian; 2. Classification (levels of detail: on learner’s own judgment); 3 Photos (minimum 3 taken by the learner, and 2 from the e-key) - they should present a natural view of tree, leaf - margin, upper and lower surface, flower and fruit; 4. Description (following a worksheet); 5. Importance for mankind; 6. Do you know that… (interesting facts/information about the species); 7. Additional information – personal comments (personal opinion); 8. References and resources used. The second part is based on the Assignment: “Develop your own e-module on identification for your specific case (subject, grade, and students)”. The curriculum, structured in chapters and activities, can be reviewed in the folder “Materials” of [4]. 4 the courSe An experimental course was conducted on July 8th and 9th 2010 at the Department of Information and In-Service Teacher Training of the Sofia University. The Department campus includes a small park in front of the buildings where the field work was carried out. Twelve participants took part in the course – 8 Biology school teachers, 2 Biology trainers from a training centre, 1 university lecturer in Botany, 1 Science expert from a Regional Educational Inspectorate. The course was held by the authors of this article. The entry level of the course participants with respect to their ICT knowledge and skills was as follows: 1. All participants were able to work with the e-keys of KeyToNature; 2. No participant worked previously with the Open Key Editor1; 3. All participants had an “average” skill level for working with ICT, namely: Windows, e-mail, Internet, MS Word, MS PowerPoint; 4. Only one participant worked previously with an e-learning platform - Moodle ———————————————— The Open Key Editor is a software developed within KeyToNature. It permits to edit already existing keys or sub-keys extracted from them, by changing the text, adding images, adding new species, changing the structure of the e-key, and even creating new e-keys from scratch. 357
  16. 16. - without using it after the training. The aim of the course was to test the developed curriculum and to receive feedback on effectiveness and efficiency of the course. The twelve participants were grouped into 5 permanent groups; the work was conducted by each group as a whole. In broad terms, the course time frame was set in the following way: 1. First half of the first day – work in the field: trees’ identification, gathering additional information (taking photos, observing the environment, taking notes), and filling-in the “terrain” part of Worksheet 1 (profile of the tree); 2. Second half of the first day – work as an user of the Moodle platform and of the e-learning course: collecting the requested additional information from Internet and from the e-key, entering the collected data in the interactive geographic map of Moodle and in the prepared course multimedia database; working with the Open Key Editor and developing a sub-key. Homework: development of a short PowerPoint presentation about the profile of the identified tree. 3. First half of the second day – Design of e-learning modules in Moodle: e-Course setting, student enrollment, work with selected resources (labels, folders, hyperlinked text, access to different study materials); developing an e-course programme/syllabus. 4. Second half of the second day – work with selected activities in Moodle: setting up interactive geographic maps, developing a database, developing an assignment, setting up a glossary. Starting the design of each trainee’s own e-learning module. Homework: Full design and preparation of the e-learning module, ready for use by students. It was very encouraging to see that all groups managed to perform well the required activities and to develop the products envisaged in the course. The results of the work of each group from the course can be seen in the Bikam’s KeyToNature Moodle platform [4]. Photos from the teacher training course can be seen at the web-address provided in [5]. 5 evaluation of the teacher training courSe 5.1 colleS - conStructiviSt on-line learning environment Survey We used COLLES [6] as one of the two survey instruments to evaluate the course. COLLES comprises 24 statements grouped into six scales. The six groups are Relevance, Reflection, Interactivity, Tutor Support, Peer Support, and Interpretation. The concrete survey questions grouped by categories can be reviewed at [7]. Graph charts with all survey results can be viewed at [4]. Important feedback from the teachers’ answers was that: 1. In terms of the question categories the course scores higher than the middle value of occurrence in the scale (“Sometimes”). 2. The highest, almost maximal, score in the survey is assigned to the course relevance category. According to J. Cole and H. Foster [8], p. 192, the Relevance 358
  17. 17. category is the most important with respect to the assessment of the course design. 5.2 free-form opinion Survey In the second, free-form opinion survey, participants were asked about the strong and weak sides of the course and its methodology. The articulated strong sides were: 1. The power of the e-learning platform to offer electronic means that unite into a learning whole and serve the overall learning process. 2. The power of attractivity to students of the final products created within (or with the support of) the e-learning platform. The most often mentioned weak sides were related to: 1. The eventual lack of sufficient hardware for the implementation of e-learning scenarios - laptops for field work, the availability of computer labs. 2. About the course delivery – the very short duration of the course – only 2 days. The participants didn’t know that the course was intentionally compressed to last only two days in order to test the possibility of achieving the main goals in such a short training time. 6 Summary and concluSionS The e-course proved to be a success, especially having in mind the intentionally imposed extreme constraints (unskilled trainees to work with e-platform, and short duration of the course). The use of an activity-based e-learning platform as Moodle maximises the learners’ motivation, effectiveness, and efficiency of both students’ learning and teacher preparation. The teachers have to be trained accordingly, preferably initially through a simple, not overwhelming training that utilises only some, yet powerful, learning activities in the e-learning platform. Two other important implications are that our curriculum & learning design approach proved to be: 1. “e-key independent”. It can be used with any interactive identification key, irrespective of the organisms it identifies. 2. “e-learning platform independent”, providing that the corresponding platform has a set of functionalities/instruments that can realise appropriate learning activities. Furthermore, the opportunity to mix/blend the course could be considered, to organise its delivery partly face-to-face, partly by distance. The course was prepared in levels, in a modular way. This article has discussed only the first, initial level of the curriculum, which was also tested with teachers in the course. The next two course levels are meant to update and upgrade the knowledge and skills of the teachers, to fully employ the functionalities and instruments of the platform. As a next step in learning design and delivery inquiries, it will be interesting to test the delivery of an entirely distance-online course, following the outlined curriculum. 359
  18. 18. acknowledgement This work has been supported by the KeyToNature project, ECP-2006-EDU-410019, in the frame of the eContentplus Programme. referenceS [1] R. L. Hanna, “Active Learning = Remembering = Learning”, Las Positas College, Livermore, California, USA. http://lpc1.clpccd.cc.ca.us/lpc/hanna/learning/activelearning.htm, July 2010. [2] S. Hidi, “Interest and Its Contribution as a Mental Resource for Learning”, Review of Educational Research, vol. 60, 4, pp. 549-571, Winter 1990. [3] S. Reiss, Who am I: The 16 basic desires that motivate our actions and define our personalities, New York: Tarcher/Putnam, ISBN 1-58542-045-X, 288 p., 2000. [4] KeyToNature Moodle e-learning platform. http://k2n.bikam.com/moodle-new, July 2010. [5] Photo gallery “Training KeyToNature”. http://picasaweb.google.bg/k2n.bulgaria/ TrainingKeyToNature#, July 2010. [6] P. C. Taylor and D. Maor, “The Constructivist On-Line Learning Environment Survey (COLLES)” Curtin University of Technology, Pert, Australia. http://surveylearning.moodle.com/colles/, July 2010. [7] P. C. Taylor and D. Maor, “Example COLLES (Preferred and Actual)”. Curtin University of Technology, Pert, Western Australia. http://surveylearning.moodle.com/mod/survey/view. php?id=3, July 2010. [8] J. Cole and H. Foster “Using Moodle: Teaching with the Popular Open Source Course Management System”, 2nd Edition. O’Reilly Media Inc., USA, 2008. 360

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