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Dr Niall Smith Cork Institute of Technology Blackrock Castle Observatory Engaging Communities with Live Space Data EUSEA Annual Conference 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr Niall Smith Cork Institute of Technology Blackrock Castle Observatory Engaging Communities with Live Space Data EUSEA Annual Conference 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr Niall Smith Cork Institute of Technology Blackrock Castle Observatory Engaging Communities with Live Space Data EUSEA Annual Conference 2012

2 Blackrock Castle Observatory (Cork, Ireland) Observatory and Science Centre operated by Cork City Council and Cork Institute of Technology Particular interest in STEM education Over 200,000 visitors to science centre in 5 years Over 50,000 schoolchildren have availed of our workshops (at primary and secondary level) Accredited to provide CPD to teachers to use space in the classroom Significant feedback from a wide and varied cohort

3 To increase interest in STEM related careers at a time when technology is increasingly commonplace in society To develop innovative methods underpinned by inquiry-based education that can reach directly into existing educational systems To improve the baseline understanding and acceptance of scientific methods amongst the general public Why Engage with Communities? Teachers Students Communities

4 What is Live Space Data? USER Customised Web Interface Spacecraft Ground-Based Telescopes Optical Radio StudentPublicResearch Primary / Secondary / Tertiary

5 Send a message towards a known exoplanet via a small radiotelescope using a real radio signal Watch live via a web interface Messages can be tracked subsequently using a unique user id Case Study I - Radio Telescope

6 Permanent live feed from another radio telescope

7 Deployment into schools in Cork in autumn - curriculum links / resource packs / sensors Sending a message to space provides a unique context for discussion - what are stars and planets? - how far away are the stars? - how do you make a radio telescope? - what might alien DNA look like? Case Study I - Radio Telescope The same questions can be discussed according to the user level. The complexity of the data you receive depends on the user level. Hugely flexible and very cost-effective

8 Case Study II - Optical Telescope Live imaging using telescope at Chabot Science Center in San Francisco 8 hour time difference Acts as a catalyst for ideas, conversations, connections Images taken and processed by 5 schools Chabot at night Art and Science

9 Next Phase – Optical Telescope Farms Centres of Excellence in Science Communication Big Data Research Communities Cloud

10 Conclusion Now technologically possible to bring live space data into the classroom, the science centre, etc. Coordination by Centres of Excellence Live space data can be customised to the target audience Especially important for teenagers The experience is centred around inquiry / debate / uniqueness Encourages discussion across cultural and discipline boundaries

11 Thankyou


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