|The more I see the potential of it, the more I see it as a tool
for educators. That's why I think the concept of electronic school
is a wonderful idea because it isn't just reaching a small group
of people, but you reach a much broader audience. This is the
future of teaching. I really think it is.
IR: Does that bother you?
Lena: No, because I'm not going to be around for it to bother me! (laugh) I will be retired! (laugh) But at least I can say I am sort of a pioneer of it.
IR: What made you choose the Endangered Species of Hawaii as the topic of your
Lena: The reason why is because I believe it is a major concern in the state of Hawaii. When we started the project I thought Hawaii was just the endangered species capital of the nation, but many say we are
|My most interesting E-mail was from a French boy who was attending
a college in the United Kingdom. His dissertation was about how
alien plants were affecting other species in Hawaii. He had never
been to Hawaii! (laugh) He obtained all of his information from
the world wide web, E-mail and chatrooms. Knowing what he was
searching for, I found some stories in the newspaper about the
Miconia which was the vine that was suf-focating other plants
here in Hawaii. He later sent me his entire dissertation! I found
that he used the articles I sent him and gave me credit for helping
him. Later, I asked him why don't you create a web page for this
topic, and he did!
My students and I made numerous presentations at technology conferences such as at Kona, Windward District, Edtech, and Hern conferences. Mahalo Airlines featured our endangered species site in their inflight magazine. And if you go to our trophy show-case on the website you will see the
|the Endangered Species Capital of the WORLD! So it's a really big problem. I then felt it was important to get the message out, not only to the people of Hawaii but to the world. They can look at Hawaii with their prob-lem of having so many endangered species and try to avoid this similar crisis from oc-curring in their country||rest of the recognition the site has received. The website was
also listed in a resource guide called "Guide to Educational Resources
on Rare Native Plant Conservation in the United States" pub-lished
by The Center for Plant Conservation Missouri Botanical Garden
in St. Louis, Missouri.
|And I think the kids really love and care for the animals. They
don't want them to become extinct.
IR: Where did the core of the websites research come from?
Lena: In the AGT Program you are always searching for problems, concerns and
issues, and then from there if you find a topic that is relevant you plan a lesson unit
focusing on that issue. It wasn't a matter of saying: "Let's do research on animals." What we were looking for was a topic concerning the theme of balance. The endangered species followed that theme very well. When a habitat is invaded by alien invaders such as the feral pigs and mongoose than this can lead to an unbalanced ecosystem.
IR: How did you start with doing the web pages?
Lena: A friend encouraged me to create one. I resisted at first because I didn't think it was something worth the time to learn. But I was very surprised with the results! I first started by publishing the students' research on the website. And then, even with that little amount of information, I got a lot of responses. Then I
said to myself last summer, "How can I make it more valuable to teachers, so they can use it in the class-room as a resource". This is when I added the lesson plan and
endangered species links to other websites. That took a tremendous amount of time searching for sites! Next I created a way to submit reports from other people about their endangered species in their state and/or country. And just recently I added a photo gallery because students love pictures! Pictures attract children all the time.
IR: What kind of recognition and rewards have you gotten?
Lena: I've received many E-mail responses from educators and students all over the world who are interested in obtaining further information about Hawaii's endangered species. Educators have "mirrored" this site to teach other educators how to create an educational website. Some of them think that I am an expert in this field, but I am not! (laugh) But, I have been keeping up with the news and issues concerning Hawaii's endangered species. There have also been many responses from teachers thanking me for the site, asking me how I got started, and how I managed to get so many "hits."
|3-2-1 contact Magazine contacted me and stated they would feature
site in the June's issue. I hope it really does get featured. We also received 20 endangered species of Hawaii coloring books from Bess publishers to thank us for putting up such an inspirational site. Next school year my students and I will write a resolution in declaring Endangered Species Day for April 1998 with the help of representative Cynthia Thielen. I hope this dream comes true for my students and me.
IR: : What kind of advice can you give to other educators who
would like to start a resource such as this?