The CALMet Conference: International Sharing of Approaches to Education and Training in Hydrology and Meteorology


Patrick Parrish, Tim Spangler, Joe Lamos, Wendy Abshire




The first CALMet Conference was hosted by The COMET® Program in 1993 as innovations in computer-assisted learning were taking hold and the Internet was showing glimmers of promise as an educational tool. Fifteen years later, CALMet has been held on seven occasions and hosted by six countries on five continents. It has been an important force in helping the community share knowledge and experience while facing the new challenges and opportunities of instructional innovations. The conference is unique in its international scope and focus on emerging innovations in education and training in hydrology and meteorology.


Most recently hosted in June, 2007 by the Chinese Meteorological Administration in Beijing, China, the conference offers a variety of venues to achieve its goals.



All session formats are encouraged to be interactive, providing attendees plenty of opportunities to raise questions, offer concerns, and share connections and interests. In fact, in addition to information sharing and skills development, one of the key goals of the conference has always been to build relationships that can expand impacts beyond the constraints of a week-long conference. Because training professionals in any single institution are few, opportunities to interact with those from other institutions are particularly valuable. 


While the CALMet Conference has always had a strong focus on understanding emerging instructional technologies, the increasingly pervasive nature of computers and the Internet in training and education has reduced that emphasis over the years. Today nearly all computers have multimedia capabilities, and the World Wide Web not only rivals the classroom as a common venue for training and education, but has also become the primary playground and communications tool for millions of people around the world. For these reasons, the emphasis on instructional methodology has grown, and a higher percentage of sessions address innovative uses of existing technologies. In recognition of this shift, in the most recent conferences, the “CAL” of CALMet has evolved from “Computer-Assisted Learning” to “Creating Activities for Learning” to reflect the ubiquitous, and therefore nearly invisible role of computers today, and the need to focus on learning—not just technology.


CALMet VIII will be held 29 June through 4 July in Saint Petersburg, Russia, hosted by the Russian State Hydrometeorological University ( Proposals for the conference will be sought on the topics of innovative learning activities for students and professionals, technologies for education and training delivery, educational resources collections and libraries, competency-based training, training program management, the evolving training and education needs of professionals, and learning and instructional theory for meteorology and hydrology education and training. Proposed session types include paper presentations, posters, workshops, panels, and roundtable discussions. International collaboration on presentations is encouraged, as are active and innovative approaches to conference sessions. Pre-conference workshops are also planned. Proposals can be submitted via the CALMet Website at through February 15, 2009.