COLLEGE STATION — Public school educators in Central Texas soon will be introduced to water and environmental resources available over the Internet under a technology transfer project being carried out by the Texas Water Resources Institute.
The effort is funded by an environmental education grant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to Ric Jensen, project leader and public information specialist for TWRI, which is part of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.
The project will help public junior and senior high school teachers improve their Internet skills. Agricultural teachers from Central Texas will attend the first workshop at Texas A&M University in January 1996. This workshop is being coordinated by Dr. Glen Shinn, head of the Texas A&M’s agricultural education department.
Participating teachers will be surveyed about their use of the Internet for classroom instruction before the workshops begin. Sessions then will include hands-on experience in using the Internet to learn about water and environmental issues.
Jensen will train the teachers how to use TWRI’s World Wide Web site, “Texas WaterNet.” They will be shown how to access an online directory of university scientists who work with water issues, view text and photos from TWRI publications, search the WaterNet database for specific keywords and view other related sites that are linked to Texas WaterNet.
“I think there is a real value in having teachers sit down at a computer that has an Internet connection and a WWW browser and receive focused, personalized instruction in how to use sites like these,” Jensen says. “We want to make this site as easy to use as possible for educators and the general public, and this type of training should help. We also want teachers to be aware of the specific tools that we have been developed for this site that may be useful for them.”
Several months after the training session, Jensen and Shinn will survey teachers again to see if the site is being used by teachers, if educators are pleased with the product and if improvements need to be made.
Jensen plans to involve other collaborators, such as junior and senior high school science teachers, in the future sessions. Texas WaterNet can be accessed at http://ageninfo.tamu.edu/twri.