Some great resources are being made available to support learning about space which I think will be of real value in the classroom.
NASA has produced a great set of freely available video resources. The NASA eClips are short relevant educational video segments designed to inspire and engage students and help them see real world connections. New video segments are produced weekly exploring current applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics topics. The clips are organised to cater for primary, intermediate and secondary students, and a section for the general public.
The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a Web 2.0 visualization software environment developed by Microsoft Research. The WWT 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. Imagine Google Earth – but with the cameras pointing out into space!
Unfortunately the WWT is only designed to run on Windows-based machines, so I miss out on my Mac, but Roy Gould’s public demo of the World Wide Telescope captured on Ted Talks provides a good insight:
Of course, if you’re like me and don’t have a Windows machine, or the memory required to run WWT, there’s always Google Sky or Celestia, the free space simulation that lets you explore our universe in three dimensions that runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
Whatever suits you best, the options available for really engaging with the “final frontier” are certainly much more advanced that the days when I sat browsing books in the library, or waiting for days before images of the moon landing appeared on the black and white TV we had back in 1969!