ASP2020: A Virtual Conference
Click here for the Schedule-at-a-Glance
Exploring the Universe with WorldWide Telescope
Astronomy is an exhaustive subject, tackling scales from the grandiose to the minute, the massive to the massless, eternity to the seemingly instantaneous. This totality makes teaching astronomy inherently difficult, a difficulty now compounded by remote learning. College-level introductory astronomy courses serve as an ever-popular science broader education course, but they frequently focus on the material rather than engaging students in the scientific process. The need for substantive remote activities that allow students to "do science" has never been higher. WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a powerful free-to-use planetarium package that allows students to explore the universe on a web browser (http://worldwidetelescope.org/). It brings together archival imagery across the entire electromagnetic spectrum from the world's most powerful telescopes, which allows students to explore the night sky using real astronomical data. Additionally, real-time modeling of the Solar System allows students to visualize phases, orbits, eclipses, Kepler's laws, and more. I implement WWT in my college classrooms, and I have found that my WWT activities heighten my students' curiosity about the cosmos more than any of my lectures, a belief supported by my student evaluations. This coming Spring, WWT will form the basis for most of my indoor laboratory assignments, where students will actively engage in the scientific process and answer open-ended research questions. I will give a brief overview of the powerful features available in WWT and show examples of how it has been used in both high school classrooms and my own college classrooms. The presentation will finish with information on resources and publicly available materials that you can implement immediately in your own classes or outreach events.
Conference Strand: Online K-16 Teaching & Learning