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Federal Agency Educational Resources: Department of Transportation

The Education Techie reviews tech tools and websites that can help students and teachers. This week, the Techie is taking a look at some of the online educational resources offered by federal agencies of the U.S. government. Today's article explores the website of the Department of Transportation (DOT).

By Sarah Wright

department of transportation logo

What Resources Are Available?

As might be guessed, the Department of Transportation's website offers information about safety guidelines, driving protocols and other recommendations for air, water and road travel. While not all of the available info is applicable to classroom settings, the site does provide some great features for students and teachers. Here are three of the most interesting classroom resources.

Adopt-a-Ship

A service of the DOT's Maritime Administration, this program gives kids in grades 5-8 the opportunity to 'adopt' a ship of the U.S. Merchant Marine. The 'adoption' is a formal process that allows students and teachers to exchange letters with crew members. The ship's captain is designated as the official correspondent, but he or she may share this duty with other officers and crew members.

The Adopt-a-Ship program can help teach students about history, international trade, geography and other sea topics. The program's website offers a space where participating teachers can share ideas for lesson plans relating to the program.

TranStats

TranStats is a well-organized database of transportation statistics. These facts and figures are presented in a variety of formats, including within charts. When I visited the page, the featured statistics were about the airline industry and included a comparison of the number of airline passengers in 2009 (618 million) versus the number in 2010 (625 million).

transtats screenshot

This kind of information could definitely be useful in education settings. Students in middle school and older grades can use statistics in papers and projects. Elementary school teachers might use the colorful graphs and charts for statistics and transportation lessons. Data is arranged by transportation mode and subject.

Student Career Opportunities

The DOT offers internships and fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students. Among the available internships is the John A. Volpe Transportation Internship Program. This opportunity is intended for graduate students in engineering, science and social science fields whose studies and career ambitions relate to transportation. Interns in this program work alongside DOT employees in the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, which teams up with federal, state and local governments to resolve transportation issues.

In addition to internships and fellowships, the DOT offers cooperative education opportunities to students in high school, vocational school, college and graduate school. These cooperative experiences allow individuals to work with the Department of Transporation while earning a degree, diploma or certificate. The DOT offers other career resources to students interested in a transportation-related career. The website provides good information about these opportunities, including eligibility requirements.

Visit the homepage of the Department of Transportation to access additional educational resources.