While rising energy prices are not fun, a Utah State University professor says that doesn't mean learning about ways to conserve energy has to be tedious.

Stephen E. Poe, USU extension specialist in agricultural education, has developed a number of computer games and programs that aid in teaching energy-conservation concepts in both home and agricultural settings.Recent events in the Middle East have once again shown how vulnerable the United States is when its energy sources are threatened. He said energy conservation is something that can be done immediately to help reduce America's heavy dependence on foreign oil.

The trick is to teach conservation in a user-friendly way, which he said is where his computer programs come in handy.

After more than a year, Poe recently has completed four computer programs geared for home and classroom use. Several of the games now have been distributed to high schools throughout the state.

One game is a computer crossword puzzle that teaches energy conservation principles as the puzzle is pieced together. Another game, "Energy Concentration" is a memory game fashioned after the popular television game show that teaches energy conservation techniques as users uncover game squares.

Working with a grant from the Utah Energy Office and the Department of Agriculture, Poe said he has developed several "graphic-oriented" computer games and programs.

In addition to games, he has also developed an instructional program based on a home-energy quiz. This IBM compatible computer program allows the user to test energy conservation relating to the home. The program consists of 15 questions and more than 25 graphics to help diagnose and teach methods of conserving energy in the home.

Farmers can also benefit through the use of an IBM-compatible program developed by Poe to assist them become more energy efficient in their farming operation through use of energy worksheets.

He said the worksheets help farmers determine energy efficiency through information in the areas of irrigation, tractor testing, insulation and no-till field applications.

Schools, homeowners or farmers interested in using the computer programs may do so by contacting a USU county extension agent or calling Poe at 750-3772.