Tuesday, May 27, 2008

tt4t_039 Up, Up, and Away….

It’s Tuesday, May 27th 2008 and welcome to episode 39 of TechTalk4Teachers, I’m Tom Grissom. I hope all had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend and had the opportunity to honor our veterans. Here in the midwest we had rain off and on all weekend so hopefully everyone was able to get in their cookouts between the rains. As graduations conclude across the country and schools recess for the summer I invite fellow educators to stay tuned to TechTalk4Teachers as I plan to continue producing episodes over the summer.

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There may be a week or two that I do not post an episode when I take vacation but I will let you know ahead of time. At the end of June I will be attending the National Educational Computing Conference better known as NECC in San Antonio, Texas so I should have plenty of new material to cover when I get back. I am really looking forward to this conference as this is the largest educational technology conference in the nation and there will be thousands of educators from across the world attending. If any of you are attending NECC and would like to meet up at this event please drop me an email at techtalk@eiu.edu and we will see if we can arrange a time and place to meet while in San Antonio. I would love to meet fellow listeners/readers face-to-face to compare notes so please let me know if you are interested.

NECC 2008 San Antonio Link:

Tom’s Technology Pick of the Week
My technology pick of the week this week is the recently released Worldwide Telescope website developed by Microsoft Research. If you have any interest at all in Astronomy this is an absolute must see website. It does require a client download and uses Internet Explorer so those with Macs will have to boot into Windows if you have that option to use this site. If you meet the system requirements to download the software it is definitely worth it to fully experience this wonderful resource for educators.

This site is like a combination of Google Earth that meets the heavens and the Hubble space telescope. I was blown away by the high definition NASA images available at this site and this site alone could be the textbook for a multi-semester course on Astronomy. There are several canned demos that you can also view. One of my favorites is the Earth at night that shows all the lights on Planet Earth. You can really tell the industrialized world from more remote areas from space. Most striking was the absence of light from North Korea as compared to South Korea.

Here is a quote from the Worldwide Telescope that explains what it is:

“The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a Web 2.0 visualization software environment that enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope—bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world for a seamless exploration of the universe.”
A link to the Worldwide Telescope is provided in the show notes.

Worldwide Telescope

What is the Worldwide Telescope?

Once using the software you can use your mouse to scroll through the night sky and zoom in and out on objects in space. When you zoom in you will be presented with a high definition image from thousands of space objects and terabytes of data including deep space objects like galaxies and Messier objects. You can also view the sky from different vantage points on Earth. There are exquisite photographs of all of the planets and moons in our solar system and many demos of moon eclipses and demos where astronomers lead you through a guided tour of Space. If you are a science teacher this is an excellent site to spend some of your summer leisure hours reviewing. After exploring this site I think you will be inspired to break out that telescope and go outside and view the marvels of the heavens this summer.

That wraps it up for episode 39 of TechTalk4Teachers. Show notes for this episode are available on the web at the EIU Instructional Technology Center website at www.eiu.edu/itc, just click on the Techtalk4Teachers Podcast link. If you would like to make a comment or suggestion please send an email to techtalk@eiu.edu or leave a comment on the TechTalk4Teachers blog. Until next time this is Tom Grissom, keep on learning

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