The need for education on water issues is never more evident than this year in South Florida. We’re in the throes of a major drought, and water restrictions are being imposed and enforced and yet most people are not aware of the basic situation or the potential gravity of the shortage for agriculture and for people. As the population continues to grow and rainfall perhaps becoming more uncertain the situation can only get worse, and people’s understanding more important.
How to reach people including, students (at the elementary, secondary and university level), teachers, the general public and the media with this information is a continuing challenge.
The Panel discussion has reviewed several ways to address Water Information Education, from a computer-based elementary lesson to university curriculum, and included examples from the U.S., Chile, Mexico and other countries. This working group will expand upon the information discussed in the panel and focus on the Key Questions below.
- Key Questions:
- What is the message/ concept that you want to teach?
- What is the best method to use in teaching the concept to your specifically chosen audience?
- Is there a behavior that you are looking to change?
- What is the objective? Needs to be quantifiable and measurable.
- Is the audience that you are targeting TRULY the appropriate audience for your message (consider grade level topics)?
- Research & Development:
- What existing information is available?
- Is it appropriate “as is” or will it need to be modified for your use?
- If modifying, what permissions are needed to use the materials?
- Who should be involved in the development of your program (stakeholders)?
- Which technology might appeal most to what age levels.
- How can technology be used to relay your message?
- What technologies are not being taken advantage of that may reach a larger audience?
- Implementation & Evaluation:
- Once your program is implemented, how can you keep it going long term?
- How are you going to evaluate your success?
The Information Education Working Group will develop an overview of educating students, teachers, the general public and the media about water resources with case studies of each. Outcomes will include:
- An exchange of information about techniques & technologies to better educate the public about Water Information, and
- Looking at the problems in Water Information Education: What are the issues that most need to be addressed?