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Innovative renewable energy education using the World Wide Web

O’Mara, K.L. and Jennings, P.J. (1999) Innovative renewable energy education using the World Wide Web. In: Proceedings of the World Renewable Energy Congress, 10 - 13 February, Perth, Western Australia pp. 145-149.

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The World Wide Web is a powerful tool for education. Educators can, with the touch of a few keystrokes, have access to contemporary information and materials to assist them in the teaching and learning process. Yet many teachers find the world wide web a daunting maze full of dead ends and unrealised opportunities despite the best efforts of search engines to locate the most appropriate sites.

Most teachers do not have the skills or the time to view and evaluate even a small fraction of the results from search engines, let alone adapt these materials so that they are suitable for classes which they teach.

The situation is often worse for school children searching for materials for school projects and science fairs or information to help them with their homework. The students are bombarded by the results of search engines, unaware of the reliability issues of the sites they visit and frustrated by highly technical jargon. To complicate matters further, the needs of teachers and students are rarely the same. Despite these substantial problems, there are many sites that are excellent sources of information and materials for teachers and students. Locating them is often more a case of good fortune than good planning in the selection of key words and phrases.

A considerable effort has gone into creating sites to assist renewable energy educators and their students, but there is no overview available to guide beginners to the best sources. It is wasteful of time and resources for energy teachers and students to have to search the whole World Wide Web to find the best sources, although for advanced or esoteric subjects this may still be necessary. One possible solution to this problem is a one-stop shop for teachers and students. This could be single site with an index and links to major World Wide Web resources. The framework for this project already exists within ISES. WIRE, the Worldwide Information system for Renewable Energy could provide the host for this service to ISES members and users.

This paper aims to discuss what makes some sites more useful than others and provides examples of the types of information and sites which are most suitable for both teachers and students seeking resources on renewable energy, energy efficiency and global warming. We will also discuss some simple guidelines and strategies, which could be used to create sites and resources, which are suitable for use by educators and students to assist the integration of the World Wide Web into the renewable energy classroom.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
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