Talking NASA Education? We've Got You Covered

The NASATalk web collaborative is designed and managed by the NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future as a virtual place for parents and educators to talk and learn about the many opportunities available from NASA. The site continued to grow in 2012 and is jam packed with resources for parents and educators.

SpaceFest
A highlight of the year was the July 20 grand opening of the space shuttle Enterprise exhibit at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City. NASATalk hosted a full day of NASA DLiNfo Channel video feed featuring multiple professional development activities for teachers, including the Rockets to Racecars workshop and other live events from the 2012 Samsung SpaceFest at the museum. Here at the Center for Educational Technologies 25 people took part in the Rockets to Racecars workshop via the DLiNfo Channel. Participants in Wheeling ranged in age from 3 to 80 and included Lt. Col. Dale Olson, the retired commander of the HC-130 search and rescue aircraft at Cape Canaveral the day of the Challenger tragedy.

STELLAR Award
NASATalk also presented Amy Williams, a middle school science teacher at the Headwaters Academy in Bozeman, MT, with the STELLAR Award, which includes a $100 stipend. The STELLAR Awards recognize excellent uses of NASA science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) materials by educators in classrooms or informal settings. Williams was honored for the astrobiology unit she organized and integrated into her science curriculum.

New Server
Another positive move for NASATalk in 2012 was the addition of its own dedicated server, giving the NASATalk team complete control over its content management system server, database, and all its connections.

Robotics Tweetup
To celebrate National Robotics Week in April, NASATalk hosted a daily tweetup that drew an international audience via Twitter and NASATalk. Led by Dr. Meri Cummings of the Center for Educational Technologies, the tweetup took participants to a number of LEGO NXT robotics activities presented via NASATalk. Authors of the activities included educators as well as students who have been involved in Cummings' robotics efforts for years. The authors were the featured experts for each hour of the tweetup.

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