89th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Monday, 12 January 2009: 1:30 PM
The NOAA National Weather Service education products and services
Room 125B (Phoenix Convention Center)
Ron Gird, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD; and D. Cain
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service, (NWS) provides severe weather awareness and preparedness material to teachers and students nation wide. Traditionally this information was provided in the form of publications, posters, hand-outs and school visits. These methods can be both costly and inefficient. New information technologies can make the NWS information to teachers and students more cost-effective and improve the effectiveness of NWS education material. The NWS JetStream web site is designed to present the basic concepts of meteorology to a wide variety of audiences. JetStream Online School for Weather will provide educators, emergency managers, or anyone interested in learning about weather with comprehensive, well-organized, colorfully illustrated curricula designed to help teach about the wonders and dangers that abound in the Earth's atmosphere. Recently, the NWS created two new products for the education community, the “Xtreme Weather” CD for middle schools and the new “Sky Watcher Chart” for all grades, K-12, and the general public. The “Xtreme Weather” CD includes a Teachers Guide and interactive teaching material suitable for classroom presentations. The Illinois Education Association (IEA) co-sponsored the project and it meets the Illinois math and science standards. The “Sky Watcher Chart” is a joint project with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) introducing the basic concepts of cloud observations including the hydrologic cycle. The cloud chart is available on the internet for downloading. Copies of these new products will be available at the presentation.

Limited resources requires the NWS to investigate a more balanced approach for providing information, using CD/DVD's, the internet and user friendly Kiosks. The Xtreme Weather Interactive Project, the Tsunami and Hurricane Education CD's and the JetStream web site illustrate the new NWS education business model and a shift away from paper. The new business model will include partnerships focusing on technology and interactivity. The AMS WeatherFest event demonstrates how basic meteorology concepts using hands-on exhibits and entertaining games like weather jeopardy can be effective tools promoting the science and careers. The use of the internet and distant learning capabilities can greatly expand the presence of NOAA into the education community. The NOAA and DHS have joined forces to distribute free NOAA Weather Radios to all public schools nationwide. Partnerships with museums, like Nauticus in Norfolk and the Science Spectrum in Lubbock, and their use of weather exhibits can reach large segments of the general public.

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