Presentation: "Old Ideas, New Technologies--Harnessing the Power of Web 2.0 Resources for the Weary Instructor" (Cosmos in the Classroom 2010)

Workshop presented at the Astronomy Society of the Pacific Cosmos in the Classroom National Symposium on Teaching Astronomy for Non-Science Majors, August 2, 2010, 3:15-4:15 PM, Session A in Eaton 1B80, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.

Starting off with the two most important topics. First important topic: (myself).

Second important topic: this workshop is possible due to a generous travel scholarship from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and partners (NASA Lunar Science Institute, University of Arizona's Center for Astronomy Education, Chandra Space Telescope EPO Program, Planck Mission, NASA's SOFIA Mission, Spitzer Science Center, Herschel Science Center, I>Clicker).

This workshop will demonstrate how three tried-and-true pedagogical tools can be implemented using the latest Web 2.0 resources.

Reading quizzes to prepare students before coming to lecture. SurveyMonkey.com assigns and collects reading quizzes.

Identification of student preconceptions, for example, regarding the "big bang." Wordle.net displays the frequency of student tags.

Rich visuals for presentations, without resorting to "fair use" of copyrighted material. Flickr.com is an image bank with many open-source "copylefted" images, which provided all the images for this presentation.

SurveyMonkey, Wordle, Flickr. New tools that help you do what you already do.

Let's start our first tool, SurveyMonkey.com, and see how its interface handles the pre-workshop assignment which many of you completed.

In the pre-workshop assignment, astronomy educators were asked their opinion regarding astrology making accurate predictions.

Compare this to Cuesta College students, before a lecture on starwheels and sun-sign astrology, with not as strong an unfavorable opinion.

In the pre-workshop assignment, astronomy educators were asked their opinion regarding Pluto being a planet.

Compare this to Cuesta College students, before a lecture on the 2003 IAU classification scheme, with a favorable opinion of Pluto being a planet.

Wordle is our second tool, used to generate tag clouds.

SurveyMonkey is first used to collect words and phrases associated with a certain topic (in this case, Mars).

These words/phrases are lightly edited, and then put into the Wordle interface to generate a tag cloud.

More frequently-used words are larger in Cuesta College student tags for Mars. This is used to drive discussion in-class.

Mars tag cloud for astronomy educators.

Cuesta College student tags for Venus.

Venus tag cloud for astronomy educators.

The third and last tool is using Flickr to find "open-source" images, as was done for this presentation.

Creative Commons is a non-profit "copyleft" organization facilitating "reasonable" use of copyright materials over and beyond "fair use," as long at the source is cited. Sometimes there are other restrictions such as not-for-profit, no modifications, or share-alike (meaning any work incorporating a "share-alike" work must also have a similar license).

This is a great resource to find images outside of the usual government agencies and open-source wikis. Many people post high-quality copylefted astronomy images.

Don't limit yourself to conventional astronomy images. Through unorthodox keyword searches and perseverance, for example, a range of images from fanciful to figurative can be found for presentation on the end-stages of medium-mass main sequence star.

We have time to address comments and questions from the pre-workshop assignment, and from participants present in the workshop today.

There is a follow-up post-workshop assignment online, due one week from today. The results will be posted later on my astronomy education research blog, along with this presentation.

As astronomy educators, think of concepts from the sun-stars-galaxies-cosmology portion of introductory astronomy that you think students find interesting. These are the interesting topics generated by Cuesta College students.

And confusing topics from Cuesta College students. On the post-workshop assignment, we'll be collecting astronomy educator generated tags for interesting and confusing topics.

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