The Tech opens in Second Life

December 26th, 2007 - Posted in Member News by Wendy Pollock

The Tech in Second Life

On December 11, the Tech Museum of Innovation opened a replica of its San Jose, California, facility in the virtual world of Second Life and announced a design competition on the theme of “Art, Film, and Music.” Curators, artists, craftspeople, and exhibit builders worldwide are invited to participate. An online collaboration platform will enable participants to find and work with others, access tools, participate in forums, and view guidelines and tutorials. Some of the winning exhibits will be replicated in the real-world museum in San Jose.

Tours, general meetings, and “Learn to Build” and “Learn to Script” sessions are being offered on a regular basis. An event schedule can be found on The Tech Virtual. The Tech in Second Life can be found by searching for “The Tech” island from within Second Life.

The Tech’s virtual exhibition creation initiative in Second Life is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

International Polar Year at the Koshland Science Museum

December 10th, 2007 - Posted in Member News by lynn

International Polar Year event at the Koshland Science Museum

On November 29, the Koshland Science Museum, Washington, D.C., hosted an International Polar Year (IPY) event as part of its growing program of serious science discussions geared towards adult audiences. Experts at the forefront of their fields present cutting-edge and often highly technical topics to engaged citizens in ways that are relevant to daily life. As part of the November 29 program, Dr. Robin E. Bell, U.S. representative to the International Planning Committee for IPY, described how the polar regions are changing faster than any other part of our planet. Audience members included representatives from the Climate Policy Center, the U.S. Department of Labor, George Washington University, NASA, NOAA, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and northern Virginia’s Fairfax County Public School System, among others. This diverse range of attendees created an environment rich for dialogue following Dr. Bell’s presentation.

Dr. Bell also is chair of the Polar Research Board of the National Academies, a member of the U.S. National Committee to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, and director of the ADVANCE Program at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of the Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York. Her presentation provided an overview of the history of IPY, its goals, the research projects underway, and the challenges of working in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Other topics covered in the Koshland’s program series have included nanotechnology and infectious disease, stem cell science and policy, the global impact of malaria, the 1918 influenza epidemic, the science of music, energy technologies, and more. Attendees can explore the museum before and after the discussions. To learn about scheduled upcoming events at the Koshland, please visit the museum web site.

The science center in Second Life

November 29th, 2007 - Posted in ASTC Connect by Wendy Pollock

What are science centers doing in Second Life? Join Rob Rothfarb and Paul Doherty of the Exploratorium in ASTC Connect to find out about their recent experiments in this 3-D, multi-user online environment. The week-long discussion starts December 3 in the ASTC Dimensions Forum in ASTC Connect.

Discussion will take off from the current issue of ASTC Dimensions, “Immersed in Science: Learning in Today’s Digital Environments.” Doherty and Rothfarb’s article, “From 2-D to 3-D Web: The Science Center in Second Life,’” and others are available in the Forum.

To sign up, go to ASTC Connect and set up an account. Then contact Margaret Glass at mglass[at] for access to the ASTC Dimensions Forum.

Immersed in Science: Learning in Today’s Digital Environments

November 16th, 2007 - Posted in 2007, Dimensions by Wendy Pollock

Dimensions coverIN THIS ISSUE
November/December 2007

In July/August 2006, ASTC Dimensions examined new social technologies—blogs, podcasts, wikis, RSS feeds, and other “Web 2.0″ communication tools that allow Internet users to personalize their online experiences. That was then; this is now. Moving past MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube, the buzz today is about immersive digital experiences, mixed realities, avatars, and the 3-D Web. Researchers document the benefits of video gaming and design “serious” games to support educational or therapeutic ends. In the multi-user online world Second Life, your custom-designed alter ego can visit a museum, take a class, view a webcast, or interview for a job. Seniors can’t get enough of digital brain games, second graders play Zoo Tycoon, and Nintendo’s whole-body Wii gaming console flies off the shelves. How does all of this relate to learning in science centers? In this issue, we’ll explore the new digital immersive technologies and learn how museums are using them to create experiences for the tech-savvy audiences of the 21st century.

• Immersive Digital Interactives: An Emerging Medium for Exhibitions, by Eric Siegel
• Digital Games as Learning Platforms, by Heather Choy
• Magical Science: Evaluating the Impact of Immersive Exhibits, by Daniel Tan and Sharlene Anthony
From 2-D to 3-D Web: The Science Center in ‘Second Life,’ by Paul Doherty and Robert J. Rothfarb
• Embedding Virtual Reality in Exhibitions: A Perspective from Paris, by Marc Girard
• Digital Planetariums for Astronomy Education, by Ka Chun Yu and Kamran Sahami
• Virtual Reality and Immersive Environment Resources
• Changes in Attitudes: Designing for Visitor Expectations, by Nina Simon
• Otronicon: Celebrating Digital Media, by Jeff Stanford

Download the full issue.

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From 2-D to 3-D Web: The Science Center in Second Life

November 15th, 2007 - Posted in 2007, Dimensions by Wendy Pollock

Second Life residents, known as avatars, view the total solar eclipse streamed live by the Exploratorium on March 29, 2006. Image © The ExploratoriumBy Paul Doherty and Robert J. Rothfarb
From ASTC Dimensions
November/December 2007

Museums are already using 3-D visualization, animation, and even single-user virtual worlds in their real-world exhibits and programming. Why then go to the trouble of creating multi-user, online virtual spaces? Is there something about these social 3-D spaces that enables online visitors to experience science exhibits differently than via 2-D web sites and interactives?

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