With all thoseC.S.I.-styled shows ruling the airwaves these days, the field of forensic science is more visible than its ever been.

Prime time, however, doesnt tell the whole taleand for police investigators of the 21 st century, its the classroom must always come before the crime scene.

Thats why West Virginia University is teaming with cables Court TV network and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences to offer a conference showing teachers everything they arent seeing in the glitz-and-glamourC.S.Iworld depicted on their television screens.

The seventh annual Forensic Science Education Conference will be July 21-23 at WVU .

Eighty middle- and high school science teachers from across the nation will see how forensic science really works, conference organizers say. The teachers will learn crime investigation techniques from experts in the field as they witness the work first-hand in WVU s two landmarkcrime scenehouses and forensic garage.

Rather than have science teachers try to reproduce the questionable techniques they see on TV, well have the real thing,said WVU s Max Houck, a former FBI investigator who now head heads the Universitys Forensic Science Initiative.

Court TV will also offer a workshop on its award-winningForensics in the Classroomcurriculum, the first learning program of its kind in the world.

The U.S. is lagging other countries in science, engineering and technology students,said Robin Bowen, a WVU forensic resource assistant who is helping coordinate the July conference here.Its important to excite and encourage studentsinterest in science. Forensics is a great way to do that.

Cost of the conference is $250, but registration is free for the first 50 teachers from West Virginia to sign up for the conference. For more information, email Bowen at robin.bowen@mail.wvu.edu or call her direct at 304-293-6214.