AUN-EEC Webinar: Going around in circles? Learning from feedback loops
24 Nov 2021
The AUN-EEC held its first Webinar on Best Practices in Ecological Education and Culture titled “Going around in circles? Learning from feedback loops” with speaker Dr. Charlotte Kendra Gotangco Gonzales, Associate Professor of the Department of Environmental Science in Ateneo de Manila University and Director of the Ateneo Institute of Sustainability.
The speaker, Dr. Charlotte Kendra Gotangco Gonzales
Dr. Gotangco Gonzales shared about the importance of systems thinking as a tool in ecological education, as well as in other fields. Among the many system thinking tools, she shared feedback loops and how this can help us understand the interconnections of various components that make up a system – be it a university, ecology, or city as a system.
In introducing feedback loops, Dr. Gotangco Gonzales shared the basics in constructing and understanding these loops to show how various components are related. Feedback loops can be constructed to show the direction of how variables change in relation to one another. A positive relationship is one where the change among connected variables move in the same direction, such that when one increases, the other increases as well; or when one decreases, the other decreases as well. A negative relationship is one where as a variable increases, the other decreases, or vice versa.
Examples of the application of feedback loops presented during the webinar include how it can be used in a classroom set-up to help students understand how changes in one component of a system (e.g. food chain) affect the rest of a system (video on this shared during the webinar here), how it can be used in understand the ecosystem (TedEd video shared during the webinar here), understanding homeostasis (video shared here), looking at social systems (example provided here) and interactions with the climate system (example provided here).
Feedback loops help us understand behaviors and trends, and reflect about what behaviors to reinforce and regulate. Dr. Gotangco Gonzales shared that using feedback loops could help students enhance their critical thinking skills, as well as their communication and collaboration skills.
The webinar also featured breakout sessions in which participants, through a facilitator, get to play with feedback loops using Loopy, a free online platform for creating feedback loops. The topics or feedback loops explored were on basic ecology, urban green spaces and wellbeing, mass public transport and air quality, traffic and obesity, and depression and anxiety.
For those who were not able to attend or those who were not able to finish the webinar, you may find the recording here. The videos shared by Dr. Gotangco Gonzales and the Loopy links are found above.
Here are the some group photos from the webinar: