Alyssa Goodman: An Alternate Universe of Learning, Through the Eyes of WorldWide Telescope

Presentation Date: 

Thursday, June 14, 2012


New Media Consortium Summer Conference, Cambridge, MA
NMC Summer Conference, 2012

Five Minutes of Fame Wrap up

Presentation Files:

Alyssa Goodman demonstrates the WorldWide Telescope program live, showing how it offers a gorgeous "Universe Information System" to its user (please see TED talk link below for a glimpse of the program).  She brought along a Microsoft Kinect controller and an XBox game controller, to demonstrate alternatives to the mouse/keyboard model for controlling the program.  At one point, she "swam" through the Universe, using the Kinect (see demo link below).  

What's new about this presentation over those that could have been given a year or two ago is the abundance of data we now have on the efficacy of WorldWide Telescope in formal learning environments.  I will summarize these data in one very catchy quantitative plot, and I will also tell stories of student's comments, such as the one that ends "WWT is way cooler than Call of Duty."   My goal will be to inspire the audience to generalize from the WWT lesson to other fields where large data sets online can be made understandable and useful to learners by putting them back into a "natural" context.  For example, imagine a virtual brain offered in biology lab, or virtual Earth where all demographic data is hyperlinked to the displayed geography, in a seamless, easy way.