E. McDonnell, MS, RD; C. Probart, PhD, RD, LD; P. Birkenshaw, MA. Penn State University, Nutrition Department, University Park, PA 16802 and Pennsylvania Department of Education, Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333.
In September of 1996, Project PA, a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Penn State Nutrition Department, received Team Nutrition funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for computer training for school food service personnel in Pennsylvania.
Recognizing the varying degrees of interest, skills, and attitudes toward computer use among the school food service population, a segmentation strategy was devised to assure that the needs of all school food service directors would be addressed. A motivational strategy was developed for those individuals least interested in computer use. This strategy involved development of a kit, entitled the "Computer Exploration Kit", consisting of a 15-minute video and print materials to be distributed to all National School Lunch Program sponsors in Pennsylvania. In an engaging, entertaining fashion, the video, "School Food Service Computer Trailblazers", presents computers as a non- threatening tool with many uses in school food service. The video was presented to and evaluated by 116 school food service employees participating in a computer workshop. Ninety-nine percent felt that the video would generate interest in computer use among non-computer users. Their written comments indicated a very strong positive reaction to the video, which they thought would be useful in a wide variety of settings. Print materials accompanying the video in the kit include information on how to get started using a computer, where to find technical support, school food service related internet sites, a glossary of computer terms, and information on the USDA-approved nutrient analysis software programs. The "Computer Exploration Kit" will be described and the results of the evaluation and potential uses for the kit will be presented.