WorldWide Telescope and Google Sky: New Technologies to
Engage Students and the Public
New, visually rich, astronomical software environments coupled with large web-accessible data sets hold the promise of new and exciting ways to teach, collaborate, and explore the universe. These freeware tools provide contextual views of astronomical objects, real time access to multi-wavelength sky surveys, and, most importantly, the ability to incorporate new data and to produce user created content. This interactive panel examined the capabilities of Google Sky and WorldWide Telescope, and explored case studies of how these tools have been used to create compelling and participatory educational experiences in both formal (i.e., K-12 and undergraduate nonscience majors classrooms), and informal (e.g., museum) settings. The overall goal of this session was to stimulate a discussion about future uses of these technologies. Substantial time was allotted for participants to create conceptual designs of learning experiences for use at their home institutions, with feedback provided by the panel members. Activities included technical discussions (e.g., mechanisms for incorporating new data and dissemination tools), exercises in narrative preparation, and a brainstorming session to identify potential future uses of these technologies.