On 28th October 2009 the Spaceguard Centre asteroid education programme “Asteroid Quest” made its way across the Atlantic to East Carolina University.
Pre-service student teachers at the University had the chance to use the Asteroid Quest educational materials, and also hold a video conference with a member of the Spaceguard Centre team. Dr Sharon Schleigh (Assistant Professor of Science Education) invited David Bowdley (Spaceguard Education Manager and Training Development Manager for the National Schools’ Observatory) to attend the class remotely via video conferencing so that students could use the educational materials and also ask questions about the Solar System topic they had been learning about.
The students asked a lot of interesting questions on topics ranging from how to tell the difference between asteroids and comets on images, to what asteroids and comets are made of. Later in their session further questions were asked via instant messaging, and the session ended with a further video conference call to see how the students had got on with the materials.
Using video conferencing opens up a whole range of activities that can be carried out remotely, and the technology is already built in to many personal and laptop computers.