Publications

2015
Optimal Model-Order for a Moon Phases Lab with Virtual and Physical Components
Udomprasert P, Goodman A, Sadler P, Johnson E, Lotridge E, Jackson J, Constantin A-M, Zhang ZH, Sunbury S, Wang Q, et al. Optimal Model-Order for a Moon Phases Lab with Virtual and Physical Components, in American Educational Research Association. Chicago, IL ; 2015.Abstract

We designed a middle school lab experience to help students understand the cause of the Moon’s phases, using a combination of physical models (styrofoam balls and lamps) and computer models (WorldWide Telescope, WWT). We tested how model order (Foam then WWT, vs. WWT then Foam) would impact student learning.

2015_wwt_moon_phases_aera_symposium.pdf 2015_wwt_moon_aera.pdf
2014
Udomprasert P, Goodman AA, Sunbury S, Zhang Z, Sadler PM, Dussault ME, Lotridge E, Jackson J, Constantin A. Visualizing Moon Phases in the Classroom with WorldWide Telescope, in American Astronomical Society, AAS Meeting #223. Washington, DC: American Astronomical Society ; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We report results from an NSF-funded project to build, test, and research the impact of a WorldWide Telescope Visualization Lab (WWT Vizlab), meant to offer learners a deeper physical understanding of the causes of the Moon’s phases and eclipses. The Moon Phases VizLab is designed to promote accurate visualization of the complex, 3-dimensional Earth-Sun-Moon relationships required to understand the Moon’s phases, while also providing opportunities for middle school students to practice critical science skills, like using models, making predictions and observations, and linking them in evidence-based explanations. In the Moon Phases VizLab, students use both computer-based models and lamp + ball physical models. The VizLab emphasizes the use of different scales in models, why some models are to scale and some are not, and how choices we make in a model can sometimes inadvertently lead to misconceptions. For example, textbook images almost always depict the Earth and Moon as being vastly too close together, and this contributes to the common misconception that the Moon’s phases are caused by the Earth’s shadow. We tested the Moon Phases VizLab in two separate phases. In Phase 1 (fall 2012), we compared learning gains from the WorldWide Telescope (WWT) VizLab with a traditional 2-dimensional Moon phases simulator. Students in this study who used WWT had overall higher learning gains than students who used the traditional 2D simulator, and demonstrated greater enthusiasm for using the virtual model than students who used the 2D simulator. In Phase 2 (spring 2013), all students in the study used WWT for the virtual model, but we experimented with different sequencing of physical and virtual models in the classroom. We found that students who began the unit with higher prior knowledge of Moon phases (based on the pre-unit assessment) had overall higher learning gains when they used the virtual model first, followed by the physical model, while students who had lower prior knowledge benefited from using the physical model first, then the virtual model.

Visualizing Moon Phases with WorldWide Telescope
Udomprasert P, Goodman A, Sunbury S, Zhang ZH, Sadler P, Dussault M, Block S, Lotridge E, Jackson J, Constantin A. Visualizing Moon Phases with WorldWide Telescope, in Cosmos in the Classroom, 125th Annual Meeting. San Jose, CA: Astronomical Society of the Pacific ; 2014.Abstract

We report preliminary results from an NSF-funded project to build, test, and research the impact of a WorldWide Telescope Visualization Lab (WWT Vizlab), meant to oer learners a deeper physical understanding of the causes of the Moon’s phases. The Moon Phases VizLab is designed to promote accurate visualization of the complex, 3-dimensional Earth-Sun-Moon relationships required to understand the Moon’s phases, while also providing opportunities for middle school students to practice critical science skills, like using models, making predictions and observations, and linking them in evidence-based explanations. In the VizLab, students use both computer-based models and lamp + ball physical models.    

We present findings from the first two phases of the study - one where we compared learning gains from the WWT VizLab with a traditional 2-dimensional Moon phases simulator; and another where we experimented with different ways of blending physical and virtual models in the classroom.

Presented July 20-24, 2013.

2014_udomprasert_et_al_moon_phases_asp.pdf
Visualizing Three-Dimensional Spatial Relationships in Virtual and Physical Astronomy Environments
Udomprasert P, Goodman A, Sunbury, S., Zhang ZH, Sadler P, Dussault M, Lotridge, E., Jackson J, Constantin A. Visualizing Three-Dimensional Spatial Relationships in Virtual and Physical Astronomy Environments, in International Conference of the Learning Sciences. Boulder, CO ; 2014.Abstract

We give a brief overview of some key features of WorldWide Telescope and its Ambassadors Program, and we describe two goals for expanding the program in the coming year: scaling up training efforts; and developing “plug and play” Visualization Lab modules that teach key Earth and Space Science concepts to students while emphasizing important scientific processes and skills. We discuss several different ways that members of the astronomy education and outreach community can incorporate WWT-based materials into their work.

v5_2014_icls_wwta_poster.pdf 04_icls14-finalsubmission.pdf 2014_icls_wwt_moon.pdf
2013
Sanders NE, Faesi C, Goodman AA. A New Approach to Developing Interactive Software Modules through Graduate Education. arXiv.org. 2013.Abstract
We discuss a set of fifteen new interactive, educational, online software modules developed by Harvard University graduate students to demonstrate various concepts related to astronomy and physics. Their achievement demonstrates that online software tools for education and outreach on specialized topics can be produced while simultaneously fulfilling project-based learning objectives. We describe a set of technologies suitable for module development and present in detail four examples of modules developed by the students. We offer recommendations for incorporating educational software development within a graduate curriculum and conclude by discussing the relevance of this novel approach to new online learning environments like edX.
WorldWide Telescope Ambassadors: A Year 3 Update
Udomprasert PS, Goodman AA, Wong C. WorldWide Telescope Ambassadors: A Year 3 Update, in Communicating Science: A National Conference on Science Education and Public Outreach. Vol 473. Tuscon, AZ: Astronomical Society of the Pacific ; 2013 :137. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We give a brief overview of some key features of WorldWide Telescope and its Ambassadors Program, and we describe two goals for expanding the program in the coming year: scaling up training efforts; and developing “plug and play” Visualization Lab modules that teach key Earth and Space Science concepts to students while emphasizing important scientific processes and skills. We discuss several different ways that members of the astronomy education and outreach community can incorporate WWT-based materials into their work.

2013-wwta-asp.pdf
2012
Goodman A, Fay J, Muench A, Pepe A, Udomprasert P, Wong C. WorldWide Telescope in Research and Education. In: Egret D, Gabriel C ADASS XXI. San Francisco: Astronomical Society of the Pacific ; 2012. pp. tba. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The WorldWide Telescope computer program, released to researchers
and the public as a free resource in 2008 by Microsoft Research, has changed the way
the ever-growing Universe of online astronomical data is viewed and understood. The
WWT program can be thought of as a scriptable, interactive, richly visual browser of
the multi-wavelength Sky as we see it from Earth, and of the Universe as we would
travel within it. In its web API format, WWT is being used as a service to display professional
research data. In its desktop format, WWT works in concert (thanks to SAMP
and other IVOA standards) with more traditional research applications such as ds9, Aladin
and TOPCAT. The WWT Ambassadors Program (founded in 2009) recruits and
trains astrophysically-literate volunteers (including retirees) who use WWT as a teaching
tool in online, classroom, and informal educational settings. Early quantitative
studies of WWTA indicate that student experiences with WWT enhance science learning
dramatically. Thanks to the wealth of data it can access, and the growing number
of services to which it connects, WWT is now a key linking technology in the Seamless
Astronomy environment we seek to oer researchers, teachers, and students alike.

WWT Ambassadors: WorldWide Telescope for Interactive Learning
Udomprasert, P. GAWC. WWT Ambassadors: WorldWide Telescope for Interactive Learning, in Annual Meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Austin, TX: AAS ; 2012.Abstract

The WorldWide Telescope Ambassadors Program (WWTA) is new outreach initiative run by researchers at Harvard University, WGBH, and Microsoft Research. WWT Ambassadors are astrophysically-literate volunteers who are trained to be experts in using WWT as teaching tool. Ambassadors and learners alike use WWT to create dynamic, interactive Tours of the Universe, which are shared in schools, public venues, and online. Ambassador-created Tours are being made freely available and will ultimately form a comprehensive learning resource for Astronomy and Astrophysics.
In this short talk, we will describe the results of a Pilot Study where volunteer Ambassadors helped sixth-graders use WWT during their six-week Astronomy unit. The results of the study compare learning outcomes for 80 students who participated in WWTA and 80 students who only used traditional learning materials. In the comparison, we find that, after the six-week unit: twice as many "WWT” as "non-WWT” students understand complex three dimensional orbital relationships; and tremendous gains are seen in student interest in science overall, astronomy in particular, and even in using "real” telescopes.

Plans for WWTA include expansion to five US sites within the coming year, and ultimately to an International Program. Online materials will ultimately be available through several sites (at WGBH, Harvard and Microsoft), and will be integrated with existing online curriculum programs such as WGBH’s Teachers’ Domain and Microsoft’s Partners in Learning. More inormation is presently available at www.cfa.harvard.edu/WWTAmbassadors/.

2012_udomprasert_goodman_wong-asp.pdf
2011
Goodman, A. A.; Udomprasert KSSPS ; B ;. Astronomy Visualization for Education and Outreach, in Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XX. Boston, MA ; 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

About 50 participants came to a discussion on the benefits and potential obstacles of using astronomy visualization tools for education and public outreach (EPO). Representatives of five different EPO organizations shared information on their project goals and outcomes. Public users need support to learn how to use these programs effectively for education, but the efforts are worthwhile because the thrill that comes from working with real data and the natural beauty of astronomical imagery are great attractors for new science enthusiasts.

Goodman AA, Strom SE, Udomprasert P, Valva A, Wong C. WWT Ambassadors: Worldwide Telescope For Interactive Learning, in American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts 217. Vol 43. ; 2011. Publisher's Version