The WorldWide Telescope in Education
Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope (WWT) provides free access to visualization software that allows anyone to access astronomical images from the most powerful ground- and space-based telescopes.
The WWT is being used by educators around the world to teach astronomy, physics, and technology.
The paper, "WorldWide Telescope in Research and Education," describes uses of the WWT in
educational and research settings. The VAO is partnering with WWT and the WWT Ambassadors program
to bring formal education materials into the classroom.
WorldWide Telescope Sample Tour
Below, we illustrate a sample tour found within Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope, created by an
educator from California. This tour was made for other educators, and you may find it useful.
To view this tour, do the following:
- Download the tour to a folder you will remember
- Open WWT
- Click on the "Explore" at upper left until a menu drops down.
- Click on "Open" and click on "Tour..."
- Find your tour wherever you saved it. Click on the tour and
- The tour is now on your screen. To star the tour, click the play button in the upper left.
- You may pause the tour at any time by moving the mouse to the top of the screen and
clicking the pause button.
VAO workshops for educators
The VAO education team has developed a series of instructional lessons to be used in
workshops for educators. These materials were recently used for an educator workshop in Austin,
Texas, in January 2012. The workshop showcased standards-based pilot lessons developed by our
E/PO team that use WWT's capabilities to teach the STEM subjects using inquiry-based learning.
The lessons feature the following WWT capabilities: Sky Mode, Solar System/3D Solar System View,
and creating WWT tours.
As an example, we also provide a list of Texas state standards (Texas Essential Knowledge and
Skills Standards, or "TEKS") that the WWT can be used to teach. The TEKS document has samples of
current TEKS for middle school and high school. The standards are separated into three sections:
Using WorldWide Telescope to Explore the Solar System, Using WorldWide Telescope to Explore the
Universe, and Using WorldWide Telescope to Create Tours.
VAO workshop files
Overview of WorldWide Telescope
This document gives a broad overview of the capabilities of the WWT. If you need to understand how to do the basics (controls, searches, what the menu items mean, etc.), start here:
Exploration of the Solar System
This series of activities leads the user on an exploration of the solar system
using the 3-D capabilities of the WWT. Phases of the moon, Galileo's observations of Jupiter,
and the causes of Earth's seasons are explored here. NOTE: The WWT 3-D Solar System is accessible
only with Windows machines.
For the final activity, "Earth's Seasons," a pre-made tour created by the WWT
Ambassadors program is required. You can download that tour here:
WorldWide Telescope: Sky Mode
In this series of activities, the user will learn how to explore the universe beyond the
solar system using the WWT Sky Mode. The importance of observing objects across the
electromagnetic spectrum is covered, as well as a scavenger hunt designed to introduce many
of the wonderful objects astronomers have come to discover in our universe.
The Imagery Data document gives a brief explanation of some of the astronomical background
(survey) images available to the user in the WWT Sky Mode.
Creating a Tour in WorldWide Telescope
In this instructional guide, the user learns how to take advantage of a unique capability
of the WWT — creating tours. A tour allows an educator or student to create a presentation
using the visualization of WWT. The
presentation can be focused on any object, telescope,
image, etc. that WWT can access. Much like other presentation software, WWT's tours allow the
user to overlay text, add audio/music, and include animations. The WWT tour functions much
like a video presentation with the added user capability of being able to stop the presentation
at any point and explore the universe around the tour where you paused.
NOTE: This instructional guide is best used by those with some
familiarity with WWT. Thus, it is advised that users complete the
other guides and activities prior to creating a tour.
To open any of the PDFs, you will need to install he Adobe Reader plug-in for your browser:
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