The USC Sea Grant Institutional Program, the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies and The College of Exploration offered a month long distance learning workshop, primarily on the World Wide Web, for educators about the El Niño phenomenon.
Participants learned about El Niño from experts and a variety of Web resource materials, and they also enhanced their knowledge of technology through the process of using the Web.
Workshop Description posted before the workshop began
Background for Teacher's Learning about El Niño
The El Niño phenomenon has been predicted to cause major shifts in all facets of living for this winter. It is anticipated that everything from fishing and surfing to the roofing industry will experience major impacts from its effects. El Niño has certainly become a noteworthy and newsworthy event. El Niño's occurrence this year provides a wonderful educational opportunity for learners of all ages to learn about system relationships and global environmental change.
It is important that educators understand as much as possible about El Niño in order to maximize the learning of their students as the effects of El Niño unfold. Cross-curriculum implications can be seen for geography, science, math and statistics, and economics.
The El Niño workshop will offer teachers an opportunity to learn about El Niño --- a timely topic for this current school year. The teachers will be able to take advantage of the knowledge of experts who will be present online to share their information and views on El Niño. Through distance learning a large number of teachers may be reached who otherwise might not be able to participate in the learning experience.
The El Niño workshop is for teachers and educators of grades K-12 who have access to the World Wide Web. The workshop will be offered asynchronously, thus allowing teachers to participate at their convenience during the workshop period. Teachers may be able to obtain graduate credit and or salary/recertification points for their participation in the workshop. Criteria will be established to ascertain successful workshop completion for credit.
The workshop dates are 2 March through April 3 1998
El Niño Workshop Components and Activities
The workshop participants will participate in the following activities through the designated online workshop components.
· Key Note Presentations "Main Hall"
Workshop attendees will take part in lectures on important El Niño topics conducted on the Web at a time convenient to them. The workshop will feature guest lecturers (scientists, educators, etc) who are experts in these topics. There will be keynote "speakers" who will present informative and thought-provoking materials, written in text formats (and video and audio clips offered using Real Media) about El Niño and who will also be available to respond to questions online. Topics such as: the El Niño cycle, weather changes, wildlife deviations, and economic impact will be explored.
· Break-Out Sessions Rooms
Break out sessions for particular topics of interest (curriculum areas) and/ or for different grade levels will be created to offer opportunities for smaller groups to dialogue about particular issues and topics related to El Niño.
· Media Center
Teachers will be able to take advantage of a database of resources about El Niño, which will be set up, with links to articles
and pertinent web sites, etc.
· Project Share Room
An area for teachers to share projects will also be offered. Here teachers can present lesson plans that they have created or
projects that their students have done. Fun activities to enhance learning will be highlighted.
· Evaluation Center
An online evaluation process will be set up to obtain feedback about both course content and process. The mechanism for
obtaining the feedback will be a web-based survey.
Agenda and Topics
Go to the Presenters Page for more information