Development of Workshops on Biodiversity and Evaluation of the Educational Effect by Text Mining Analysis

Monday, 15 December 2014
Ryuju Baba and Akihiro Iijima, Takasaki City Univeristy of Economy, Takasaki, Japan
Conservation of biodiversity is one of the key issues in the environmental studies. As means to solve this issue, education is becoming increasingly important. In the previous work, we have developed a course of workshops on the conservation of biodiversity. To disseminate the course as a tool for environmental education, determination of the educational effect is essential. A text mining enables analyses of frequency and co-occurrence of words in the freely described texts. This study is intended to evaluate the effect of workshop by using text mining technique.

We hosted the originally developed workshop on the conservation of biodiversity for 22 college students. The aim of the workshop was to inform the definition of biodiversity. Generally, biodiversity refers to the diversity of ecosystem, diversity between species, and diversity within species. To facilitate discussion, supplementary materials were used. For instance, field guides of wildlife species were used to discuss about the diversity of ecosystem. Moreover, a hierarchical framework in an ecological pyramid was shown for understanding the role of diversity between species. Besides, we offered a document material on the historical affair of Potato Famine in Ireland to discuss about the diversity within species from the genetic viewpoint.

Before and after the workshop, we asked students for free description on the definition of biodiversity, and analyzed by using Tiny Text Miner. This technique enables Japanese language morphological analysis. Frequently-used words were sorted into some categories. Moreover, a principle component analysis was carried out.

After the workshop, frequency of the words tagged to diversity between species and diversity within species has significantly increased. From a principle component analysis, the 1st component consists of the words such as producer, consumer, decomposer, and food chain. This indicates that the students have comprehended the close relationship between biodiversity and ecological pyramid. The 2nd component consists of the words such as gene, species, and ecosystem, suggesting that the students have correctly understood the 3 aspects of biodiversity. Consequently, this workshop shows an effect on acquirement of basic knowledge about the biodiversity.