Special Issue "Education, Innovation and Training for Sustainable Development in the Context of COVID-19"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. José Antonio Marín-Marín
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Didactics and School Organization, University of Granada, 18010 Granada, Spain
Interests: educational guidance; teacher training; social education; educational technology; sustainability education; educational innovation; active methodologies; gamification; digital skills
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Santiago Alonso-García
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Didactics and School Organization, University of Granada, 18010, Granada, Spain
Interests: teacher training; early childhood education; educational technology; sustainability education; social networks; educational innovation; active methodologies.
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Fernando José Sadio Ramos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Education, Polytechnic of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
Interests: teacher training; curriculum development; ethics and citizenship; sociocultural animation; educational deontology; human rights and citizenship education; bio-narrative research; curricular sustainability
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In 2015, the UN approved the Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development, with the intention of stopping the gaps from growing and gradually closing them. These 17 Sustainable Development Goals are presented as a master plan that covers the most painful global challenges for the knowledge society; here, we shall address Goal 4 of quality education. Education enables upward socioeconomic mobility and is key to escaping poverty and closing social gaps; however, approximately one fifth of the world's school-age population is not in school.

This situation is compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to the temporary closure of schools, affecting more than 90% of students worldwide. This situation has influenced the quality of their learning and dramatically changed their lives, especially those of the most vulnerable and marginalized children.

The use of active learning methodologies with the use of information and communication technologies is essential, as they improve the perception of learning and facilitate the teaching process. Therefore, this Special Issue seeks experiences and research that address issues related to active methodologies, online education, learning communities, gender equity, measures to reduce school dropout, and school literacy experiences and sustainability in the face of COVID-19, among other aspects addressed in the keywords.

We believe that this Special Issue is timely for Sustainability because of the potential of the topic, since it covers an important area, quality education, highlighted by the UN 2020–2030 agenda’s SDGs. Due to this, we expect to receive a significant amount of manuscripts. As this is a topic of special relevance in the field of education, it is expected that this Special Issue will set a precedent and serve as a reference in the subject of today’s sustainable educational challenges. Therefore, it is expected that it will be highly consulted and cited.

Dr. José Antonio Marín-Marín
Dr. Santiago Alonso-García
Dr. Fernando José Sadio-Ramos
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • quality education
  • COVID-19
  • sustainability
  • teacher training
  • educational innovation
  • active methodologies
  • ecosystem learning
  • 21st-century skills
  • sustainable development goals
  • information and communication technologies
  • inclusive education

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

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Article
A COVID-19 Pandemic Sustainable Educational Innovation Management Proposal Framework
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6391; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116391 - 04 Jun 2021
Viewed by 344
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has promoted a big change in the educational sector. Suddenly, teachers, professors, and students had to migrate from presential classes to the online system without prior notice or a training course. This paper aimed to verify how the need of [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has promoted a big change in the educational sector. Suddenly, teachers, professors, and students had to migrate from presential classes to the online system without prior notice or a training course. This paper aimed to verify how the need of a rapid change to the online system in response to the impossibility of keeping the presential system due to the mandatory social distancing imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic has affected relationships and performance of teachers, professors, and students, as well as review the technologies and procedures adopted by them to innovate and achieve sustainable education. To address the empirical side of this exploratory research, the authors of this paper sent an email questionnaire to kindergarten, elementary and high school teachers in the City of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), as well as to professors of the top 197 Brazilian universities. To address theoretical side of this exploratory research, an investigation was carried out through scientific databases. The data were analyzed with SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences), version 22.0, and with Microsoft Excel 2007. As a result, this paper showed that social isolation and transition to the online system greatly affected the work conditions of teachers and professors, as well as the learning process of students. Anyway, sustainable actions were taken to overcome these challenges. Furthermore, this paper proposed a framework that might support the development of new studies, filling the literature gap on the subject. Full article
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Article
The Higher Education Sustainability before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Spanish and Ecuadorian Case
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6363; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116363 - 03 Jun 2021
Viewed by 422
Abstract
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are key to create sustainable higher education institutions (HEIs). Most researchers focused on the students’ perspective, especially during the online teaching caused by COVID-19; however, university teachers are often forgotten, having their opinion missing. This study’s objective was [...] Read more.
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are key to create sustainable higher education institutions (HEIs). Most researchers focused on the students’ perspective, especially during the online teaching caused by COVID-19; however, university teachers are often forgotten, having their opinion missing. This study’s objective was to determine the factors that contribute to the inclusion of ICTs. The research based on a comparative study through an online qualitative survey focused on the inclusion and use of ICTs in two HEIs and two different moments (pre- and post-lockdowns). There were differences regarding country and working experience (p < 0.001), being linked to the ICTs use, evaluation of obstacles, and the role given to ICTs (p < 0.05). The COVID-19 caused modifications of the teachers’ perspectives, including an improvement of the opinion of older teachers regarding the essentialness of ICTs in the teaching process (p < 0.001) and worsening their perception about their ICTs skill (p < 0.05). Additionally, an initial model focused only on the university teachers and their use of ICTs has been proposed. In conclusion, the less experienced university teachers used more ICTs, identified more greatly the problematic factors, and considered more important the ICTs, with the perception of all teachers modified by COVID-19. Full article
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Article
Effectiveness of a Collaborative Platform for the Mastery of Competencies in the Distance Learning Modality during COVID-19
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 5854; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13115854 - 23 May 2021
Viewed by 468
Abstract
The need to adapt to new learning scenarios due to the impact of COVID-19 on our education system is undeniable. This fact means that we must adapt teaching to non-face-to-face scenarios in order to adapt the teaching processes without the students losing the [...] Read more.
The need to adapt to new learning scenarios due to the impact of COVID-19 on our education system is undeniable. This fact means that we must adapt teaching to non-face-to-face scenarios in order to adapt the teaching processes without the students losing the acquisition of competences. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a digital application for the development of competences of primary education undergraduate students in a non-face-to-face teaching context derived from the pandemic through a service-learning project. To achieve this objective, a specific programme was designed using a collaborative platform. Numerous instruments were used to assess the acquisition of basic, specific, general and transversal competences. On a quantitative level, the Teamworks Skills Questionnaire and an evaluation rubric were used, and on a qualitative level, a student field diary, a survey to measure satisfaction and an observational record were used. The main results show that after the implementation of the use of the platform, both the level of competence of the students and their satisfaction with the project were very high and that the impact on their training was very positive. Among the main conclusions, we highlight that the use of this type of platform allows students to acquire competences in non-classroom contexts. On the other hand, we conclude that training in the use of digital tools in initial teacher training is necessary for good professional performance. On the other hand, this experience allowed future teachers to realise the need to master new technologies in order to be able to adapt to the new needs that different educational scenarios pose in the information society. Full article
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Article
Self-Regulation of Motivation and Confinement by COVID-19: A Study in Spanish University Students
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5435; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105435 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 387
Abstract
(1) Background: confinement by COVID-19 in 2020 meant that face-to-face teaching changed to virtual teaching. The goal of this study was to test how confinement affected to self-regulation of motivation (SRM); (2) Methods: a longitudinal design was used to obtain information from 75 [...] Read more.
(1) Background: confinement by COVID-19 in 2020 meant that face-to-face teaching changed to virtual teaching. The goal of this study was to test how confinement affected to self-regulation of motivation (SRM); (2) Methods: a longitudinal design was used to obtain information from 75 university students in three moments: before confinement, 20 days after confinement, and 40 days after confinement. The SRM Strategies Questionnaire and the Pittsburgh Sleep Index were used to evaluate the study variables; (3) Results: the SRM decreased as confinement progressed. Moreover, those students who had higher levels of SRM before confinement, showed worse sleep quality 20 days after. There was no interaction effect between moments and gender and between moments and work situation on any of the dimensions of the SRM. There were gender differences (women scored higher) in almost all of the SRM dimensions in the three moments, but there were no differences dependent on the work situation (i.e., only study or study and work); (4) Conclusions: the change from face-to-face classes to virtual learning decreased the SRM of university students and was related to worse sleep quality. Women showed higher levels of SRM than men, but these levels were reduced to the same extent in both genders. Full article
Article
Flipped Classroom: Active Methodology for Sustainable Learning in Higher Education during Social Distancing Due to COVID-19
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5336; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105336 - 11 May 2021
Viewed by 336
Abstract
Methodological guidelines for virtual teaching during the lockdown, tailored to Flipped Classroom, are suggested by the Spanish University Education System. This educational methodology is recommended as an effective method for distance learning due to COVID-19 by several articles, studies, research, universities and institutions [...] Read more.
Methodological guidelines for virtual teaching during the lockdown, tailored to Flipped Classroom, are suggested by the Spanish University Education System. This educational methodology is recommended as an effective method for distance learning due to COVID-19 by several articles, studies, research, universities and institutions in different countries around the world. However, what is the impact of these extreme circumstances on the implementation of Flipped Classroom in Higher Education? The study design is a descriptive and correlational research that compares the frequency of the implementation of Flipped Classroom before and during social distancing. This information is provided by the participants, university professors from the Faculty of Education Sciences of the University of Malaga, through an ad hoc questionnaire. The results reveal a significant increase in the frequency of Flipped Classroom sessions (z = −4.80; p <.001) during the lockdown. The data also show a significant increase in the quantity and variety of didactic resources (t = −2.390; p = 0.021), mainly those related to Flipped Classroom, with video (z = −2.860, p = 0.004) and audio (z = −2.049, p = 0.040) files. University professors consider virtual teaching during the lockdown an opportunity for Flipped Classroom and digital skills that could improve the quality of university educational methodology. Full article
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Article
Factors for Sustainable Online Learning in Higher Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 5038; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095038 - 30 Apr 2021
Viewed by 550
Abstract
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected educational institutions and instructors in an unprecedented way. The majority of educational establishments were forced to take their courses online within a very short period of time, and both instructors and students had to learn [...] Read more.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected educational institutions and instructors in an unprecedented way. The majority of educational establishments were forced to take their courses online within a very short period of time, and both instructors and students had to learn to navigate the digital array of courses without much training. Our study examined factors that affect students’ attitude toward online teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is different from other online learning studies where online courses are mostly a method of choice, with suitable support from institutions and expectation from instructors and students, rather than a contingency. Under this specific environment, we utilized an online survey to collect students’ feedback from eleven universities across Hong Kong. Using partial least squares for analysis on the 400 valid samples we received, we found that peer interactions and course design have the most salient impact on students’ attitude, whereas interactions with instructors has no effect at all on students’ attitude. Furthermore, we also provide suggestions on using the existing technologies purchased during COVID-19 for a more sustainable learning environment going forward. Full article
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Article
Higher Education Teachers’ Training in Attention to SEN Students: Testing a Mediation Model
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4908; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094908 - 27 Apr 2021
Viewed by 381
Abstract
There is growing interest in analyzing the evolution of inclusive education in universities, highlighting the training of teachers as the main barrier to this evolution. The purpose of this study was to analyze, through a mediation model, to what extent the accessibility and [...] Read more.
There is growing interest in analyzing the evolution of inclusive education in universities, highlighting the training of teachers as the main barrier to this evolution. The purpose of this study was to analyze, through a mediation model, to what extent the accessibility and inclusion of university campuses affect, both directly and indirectly, the continuous training of teachers in attention to diversity and training demands by teachers in this same area. Participants were 580 teachers from the Faculty of Education of eight Andalusian universities (Spain). The results revealed that the continuous training of teachers in attention to diversity mediates the negative effect that accessibility and inclusion of university campuses have on the training demanded by teachers; this means that the more accessible and inclusive the universities are, the more continuous training teachers have and therefore the more interest they have in continuing training. There is no empirical evidence in the literature that this mediation model is used in the field of educational inclusion as a methodological technique, so it is a very innovative contribution. Full article
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Article
Socio-Emotional Skills as Predictors of Performance of Students: Differences by Gender
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4807; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094807 - 25 Apr 2021
Viewed by 329
Abstract
Socio-emotional skills seem to have an important influence on the academic performance of students. This performance is usually higher in girls than in boys. Our aim was to determine which socio-emotional skills influence academic performance and whether gender is a variable that can [...] Read more.
Socio-emotional skills seem to have an important influence on the academic performance of students. This performance is usually higher in girls than in boys. Our aim was to determine which socio-emotional skills influence academic performance and whether gender is a variable that can explain these differences. The results indicated that the socio-emotional skills of adolescents were high, highlighting self-awareness, relationship management, and decision-making. The lowest scores were in social awareness and self-management. Girls obtained higher grades, and students with higher grades had a higher level of social-emotional skills, except in self-management, where there were no differences. Self-management was greater in boys and relationship management was greater in girls. Students who failed did not differ from those who obtained very high results, except in decision-making. Overall, decision-making appeared to be the most important variable in students’ academic performance. Therefore, it would be necessary to design strategies that promote this ability in students. Hence, the adoption of active and collaborative methodologies that facilitate the achievement of this goal is suggested. Full article
Article
BIM Application for Sustainable Teaching Environment and Solutions in the Context of COVID-19
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4746; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094746 - 23 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 413
Abstract
COVID-19 had a major impact on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and it produced a crisis in Goal 4, which is aimed at ensuring quality education, among others. In this work, a university experience that aims to solve the challenges in this [...] Read more.
COVID-19 had a major impact on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and it produced a crisis in Goal 4, which is aimed at ensuring quality education, among others. In this work, a university experience that aims to solve the challenges in this complicated context by means of BIM technology is presented. On the one hand, this study focuses on the development of teaching by means of active methodologies based on real projects through BIM models, using the latest information and communication technologies, and on the other hand, it focuses on the management of the education center by means of a virtual BIM building. This allowed for, among other things, tackling the sustainable management of the measures required to prevent contagion. These BIM models made it possible, for example, to optimize spaces while maintaining social distances between occupants, to simulate the best options for classroom ventilation, and to optimize special cleaning and disinfection resources. Students who developed their learning through these BIM virtual models were not restricted in receiving online classes; they learned to collaborate from anywhere in the world, acquiring skills that allow them to effectively face real situations that are as complicated as COVID-19. Full article
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Article
Analysis of Emergency Remote Education in COVID-19 Crisis Focused on the Perception of the Teachers
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3820; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073820 - 31 Mar 2021
Viewed by 652
Abstract
This descriptive study intends to identify the satisfaction perception among the teachers of the Universidad del Valle de México (UVM) concerning the use of the Microsoft Teams platform in the transition from traditional model (face-to-face) to 100% online education [Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT)]. [...] Read more.
This descriptive study intends to identify the satisfaction perception among the teachers of the Universidad del Valle de México (UVM) concerning the use of the Microsoft Teams platform in the transition from traditional model (face-to-face) to 100% online education [Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT)]. The proposal aims to determine the perspectives of teachers regarding the use of the Microsoft Teams platform during the crisis caused by COVID-19. UVM has 6938 full-time teachers and part-time teachers who collaborated in educational programs during January-June 2020 in the 33 campuses of UVM. And an instrument was developed and applied using finite population sampling, UVM perspective of teachers, which was distributed via Google Forms. The feasibility of the data collection instrument was determined by the Cronbach’s Alpha coefficient, with a result of 0.926. The data collection period was aligned with the first isolation period: 23 March to 20 April. The results in the perception of teacher satisfaction in the different sections of the instrument established an agreement in the answers (very satisfied or satisfied) regarding values that were higher than 60% in terms of satisfaction using the equipment. The analysis of the data collected was performed to verify the proposed hypothesis with the R version 4.0 software. A G-test was performed with the Logverosimilitude coefficient to test whether the categorical variables were independent (qualitative variables that are not defined continuously). The Krammer coefficient of association was then calculated to measure the correlation. Full article
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Article
Early Childhood and Lockdown: The Challenge of Building a Virtual Mutual Support Network between Children, Families and School for Sustainable Education and Increasing Their Well-Being
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3654; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073654 - 25 Mar 2021
Viewed by 537
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic is questioning the achievement of main challenges we face as a society, for instance, to ensure a free, equitable, and good quality compulsory education for all children or to reduce social inequality. During the spring lockdown, particularly in Spain, schools [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic is questioning the achievement of main challenges we face as a society, for instance, to ensure a free, equitable, and good quality compulsory education for all children or to reduce social inequality. During the spring lockdown, particularly in Spain, schools were closed for six months and a process of virtualization of teaching was total; that context generated important educational challenges. This paper presents and analyses forms of digital reciprocity and solidarity among pre-primary education children, families, and teachers, by presenting a case study of the parents’ WhatsApp class groups and a collaborative YouTube channel. The procedure developed was netnography and the data analysis followed the model of grounded theory. Both digital spaces created by parents have become a network of mutual support. It has had multiple positive impacts: (i) providing and receiving social support; (ii) generating dynamics of reciprocity and empowerment; and (iii) activating values that generate a sense of community (feeling of belonging, trust, etc.). The case study shows how virtual networks increase the subjective well-being of participants in a difficult context and also invites reflection about the key role of cultural capital of the parents as a key element in the conditions of educability of children, especially in e-learning of pre-primary education. Full article
Article
The Figure of the Teacher-Prosumer for the Development of an Innovative, Sustainable, and Committed Education in Times of COVID-19
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1128; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031128 - 22 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 997
Abstract
Studies on the adaptation from face-to-face to online teaching during lockdown show the before and after in education that faces the double challenge of promoting digital skills and public access to connectivity and electronic devices in the post-COVID-19 era. Therefore, this article contributes [...] Read more.
Studies on the adaptation from face-to-face to online teaching during lockdown show the before and after in education that faces the double challenge of promoting digital skills and public access to connectivity and electronic devices in the post-COVID-19 era. Therefore, this article contributes to these new emerging lines of educational research by presenting an educational innovation project called “Teachers Versus COVID-19”. This project aimed to verify whether the figure of teacher-prosumer, that is, consumers of media culture and creators of their own educational resources, favors the initial training of teachers during the pandemic. To this end, the following objectives were proposed: firstly, test whether the figure of the teacher-prosumer contributes to improving the adaptation of face-to-face teaching to the virtual modality of the Didactics of Social Sciences in the Degree in Primary Education during lockdown; secondly, analyze the production of content on social networks by the students in the Degree in Primary Education, according to the objectives of sustainable development. To validate our teacher-prosumer proposal, we chose the design-based research (DBR) qualitative methodology. For this, 240 students from the course in Didactics of Social Sciences of the Degree in Primary Education at the University of Malaga created 37 educational videos that teach the social sciences curriculum to children between 6 and 12 years of age from the perspective of relevant social problems and the Sustainable Development Goals. These videos were disseminated through the project’s YouTube channel. The results of this study corroborate the effectiveness of turning students into teachers-prosumers, generating the development of critical, creative, digital, and socio-emotional skills so that they feel committed to playing an active role in social changes for a sustainable world. Full article
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Article
Assessment by Competences in Social Sciences: Secondary Students Perception Based on the EPECOCISO Scale
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10056; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310056 - 02 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 656
Abstract
The purpose of this work is to find out the students’ perception of the level of development of competences in the area of Social Sciences, Geography, and History. It has been developed taking into account what has been learned in the area, the [...] Read more.
The purpose of this work is to find out the students’ perception of the level of development of competences in the area of Social Sciences, Geography, and History. It has been developed taking into account what has been learned in the area, the level of difficulty for its acquisition, the assessment tools, and the transfer to a real situation. The development of a scale—original and unprecedented—called Evaluation of the Perception of Competences from the Social Sciences (EPECOSICO) has allowed, through a descriptive and quantitative study of validation of the instrument with an intentional sampling, to know the opinion of more than 1400 students of 4th year of secondary education (Spain). The instrument used presents good psychometric attributes, emphasizing the balanced characterization, considering that the number of students is similar (51%, 49%), the confidentiality and the validity. Finally, a KMO higher than 0.9 indicates high reliability in the consistency of the instrument used. Full article
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Review

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Review
Efficacy of Social Networking Sites for Sustainable Education in the Era of COVID-19: A Systematic Review
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 808; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020808 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1488
Abstract
The sudden advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated containment measures require educational institutions of all sizes to adopt eLearning as the only option for sustainable education. Despite the numerous Learning Management Systems, the rapid migration to eLearning posed numerous challenges that [...] Read more.
The sudden advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated containment measures require educational institutions of all sizes to adopt eLearning as the only option for sustainable education. Despite the numerous Learning Management Systems, the rapid migration to eLearning posed numerous challenges that negatively affect the effectiveness and sustainability of the educational activities. The current study systematically reviewed recent articles that recognized the value and feasibility of using Social Networking Sites (SNSs) in education. The study highlighted the current eLearning challenges and illustrated effective strategies for the sustainable educational use of SNSs by both institutions, teachers, and students. Thus, solutions to the problems experienced in education during the COVID-19 period were highlighted based on SNS-supported strategies. Full article
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