Microsoft WorldWide Telescope

If you want to explore the universe then the Microsoft Research WorldWide telescope will take you on a magical virtual tour . It has an education section and I encourage you to take the tour so you can see the possibilities for using this is class. The site keeps its data current and there are other aspects of the site which you can explore so that you get a better understanding of the universe and astronomy. It’s designed as a rich media experience so sit back and enjoy!

Free web conferencing tools

One of the things with laptops in the classroom is you can try our new ways of doing things and it means taking a risk, but without the doing there is no knowledge of how it can benefit you as a teacher or students as learners. This year I have tried a few new things. This year I am thinking of trying web conferencing. I have picked my class. They are really reliable students who will push through the nuisance value of not being quite sure what you are doing and they will help sort out issues. I am the one who works out how it all goes together and I am the one who works out what we can do with anything new in terms of work and then they enjoy pioneering the software and applications so we have a sense of success. I know Net Meeting works but we have Apples and no Windows so I am looking at these open source web conferencing tools so I can see what they do and how they can help us learn. In the end we may well find an application we have to pay for, but if I don’t know what to expect in terms of benefits then I wouldn’t be asking for an investment from anyone. It is really important as we pioneer technology in schools that we have a proper chance to work out how things can help and we are not forced to buy things to try them. Once we know what we are talking about, then yes, we would be able to make sensible purchases if necessary. I am grateful there is enough free software for me to be able to try things like web conferencing and I am thinking of starting with Web Huddle!

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