Wood Magic Program: A Distance Education Perspective
Research has shown that widespread misperceptions prevail regarding the use and sustainability of America's forest resources. Elementary school students receive only a general foundation in the area of wood science and many elementary school resources have shown to be inadequate. Virginia Tech and a few other universities have adopted Wood Magic (originated at Mississippi State University) which presents active, hands-on, and engaging science-based education to third, fourth, and fifth graders, allowing them the opportunity to obtain both a theoretical and practical knowledge in these areas of study. A distance education version of the Wood Magic Program, utilizing interactive videoconferencing, is the focus of this thesis.
An instructional design model has been developed to meet the needs of designers or instructors looking to expand into the distance education environment. This model describes all steps necessary to develop and implement a distance course or program.
A survey was conducted of all randomly selected third, fourth, and fifth grade elementary school science teachers in Virginia. The intentions of the survey were to discover the barriers to implementing the Wood Magic Distance Education Program into their current curriculum. The three largest barriers to implementation were cost of materials, time, and travel resources.