These are my notes from this session at TCEA 2007 in Austin, Texas, on February 8, 2007.

NASA – Digital Learning Network

NASA’s learning network is hoping to get on Internet2, but are still working on that
– now accept IP and ISDN videoconference calls

The purpose of our network is to inspire the next generation of explorers

The NASA Vision
– to improve life here, to extend life there, to find life beyond
– To understand and protect our home planet, to explore the universe and search for life, to inspire the next generation of explorers… As only NASA can.

Lots of students are interested in space and astronauts, so

Ours is a very unique environment, you can actually send your students to different places around the country
– at the Johnson Space Center, for videoconferences we do take requests to talk to astronauts, we don’t always get to connect them
– on our website there is complete info

We like to encourage innovation, we have different modules we present to students

Have centers all over the country
– Ames, Dryden and JPL California
– Glenn, Ohio
– Stennis, LA
– Johnson, TX
– more

All have unique programming, as well as some standard programming

an “expedition” is a one time connection
– lots of pre-activities
– we teach a lesson to the students, do some interactivity

Second type: a two connection challenge
– the shoebox challenge
– the 2nd time, the students present back to NASA what they have designed (making a shoebox fly)
– at the higher grade levels, we have some incredibly well designed planes
– students have to show video or a presentation, and a graph showing what happened in their flight test

Another popular one is “The Mars Challenge”
– also offer PD for teachers

Extreme environment events
– in Sept: Desert Rats (suit testing at Meteor Crater in Arizona, it is very similar to Mars)
– Antarctica- during the videoconference the kids actually got to see the Mars meteor!
– 3rd one is NEMO: NASA’s Extreme Marine Observation event

larger events are often also webcasts
some centers also have family nights
– NASA can actually connect during one of those events for a PTA meeting or family event

Video clip shown as part of the Mars Challenge

There is current imagery coming from Mars NOW

Mars has the biggest volcano (Olympus Mons) and biggest canyon ( (on earth it would stretch from California to New York)

When we talk about landing on Mars, we talk about roles of climates
– be believe in the polar ice caps on Mars, there might be water there
– that would be exciting for searching for life, also important to use and not have to take all our water when we go there

During each videoconference, we try to demonstrate different things

It took several years for the rovers to get to Mars
– we talk about the “bouncing” – the inflated balloon, all computer controlled
– when we do a robotics module

There is a WHOLE LOT of other science going on at NASA at each center, besides the shuttle and things people might typically think about when they hear “NASA”

We connected via videoconference with Damon (?) and he did some cool demos with liquid nitrogen and a balloon, showed several images of the Cape, etc.

To get started, register your school and establish a profile on the NASA – Digital Learning Network

The CEV: the new Crew Exploration Vehicle
– the shuttle is being retired in 2010, so this will take it’s place

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