The TEASPILS project in its endeavour to promote environmental awareness in classrooms and learning spaces, is starting a small private online course (SPOC) in September 2021. A selected audience of teachers from primary, secondary, and tertiary level education establishments will be engaged in a semester-long interactive course on how to use and benefit from plants set up in learning spaces, and how to innovate their teaching actively involving plants.

The benefits of plants in the classroom (and offices) have long been a topic of research. From what we know today, plants do not only help purify the air in indoor spaces or are useful and aesthetic room dividers. They also contribute positively to the learning atmosphere and social climate through the psychological effects they exert on humans.

The course, running over the entire winter semester, will deepen the knowledge connected to indoor plants for learning. Active engagement with plants has been shown to positively influence students’ attitudes toward green life forms. In this way, the project contributes to a wider environmental awareness, the SDGs related to natural habitats and bio diversity, by not only looking at remote and far away natural landscapes, such as primary forests in the Amazon jungle, but by focussing on the immediate surrounding flora in cities and urban spaces, such as our offices, homes and gardens

. The course will also stimulate human-plant communication and exchange by using innovative sensor-based interactions. Data from planters, plants, the room climate and from the people themselves will be collected and lead to a pilot with IoT smart planters in learning spaces. Communication will be supported by a chatbot, where students can “talk” to plants.

We are looking forward to a stimulating exchange with course participants. It will be their task to generate a number of learning activities for different education levels that other institutions can easily adapt and adopt for their own purposes.