Experiential education and research interactive kiosks now in aquarium room — Part of Aquarena Technology Integration Test Center at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.
Through experimentation, evaluation, and research into educational value and cost options, workers supported by H2O are developing suitable cost-effective educational enhancement technology to full-scale in a new major water discovery center. The discovery center is located at the River Systems Institute’s Aquarena Springs, at the headwater springs of the San Marcos River on the campus of Texas State University.
Recently installed in the center were four education kiosks containing interactive screens in an aquarium room containing live exhibits of endangered species and other life found in the San Marcos Springs. Kiosks will enhance learning opportunities about species.
Experiential education may be enhanced through integration of new technology.
All four kiosks are controlled by a single, low-cost computer running software typically used by students. Student and faculty researchers may use common software programs, such as Word and PowerPoint, to place educational materials onto the kiosks. Learning and student interest in test educational materials may be measured by the researchers. Kiosks were specifically designed to be low cost and simple to program, allowing education researchers to concentrate on developing and evaluating educational content, as opposed to becoming computer application programmers (or requiring costly expert assistance).
The discovery center which includes the aquarium room, and adjacent headwater springs, wetlands and upland watershed, are the sites of a test bed for development and use of new technology in water education. Technology applications will be developed, tested, improved and exported as work continues. This will allow for continual improvement of stable, cost-effective education technology that will be applicable for use outdoors, in education centers, and in classrooms.
Kiosk Details. Hardware cost: computer build approx $500-$600. Interactive screens, 19 inch, commercial grade, touch-monitors, approx. $450 each.
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H2O (Headwaters to Ocean) is a cooperative project sponsored by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University and funding partner, the Ewing Halsell Foundation which supports the project H2O. H2O is an experiential, technology-enhanced education program focused on water, from headwaters to the ocean (http://www.water-texas.org)