15th Symposium on Education


Windows to the Universe: A growing educational resource with new climate and space weather content, Spanish-language pages, and ways to collaborate

Roberta Johnson, UCAR, Boulder, CO; and L. Gardiner, R. Russell, M. LaGrave, J. Genyuk, J. Bergman, and T. Metcalfe

The Internet can be a powerful tool for reaching the general public as well as supporting formal and informal education. Using the Web to support science education, The Windows to the Universe Project (www.windows.ucar.edu) was launched in 1995. The site's easy-to-use design and science concepts presented with a broad perspective and connections to the humanities make Windows to the Universe a unique resource. An innovative multi-level approach to content, with each topic written at a beginner, intermediate and advanced level, makes Windows to the Universe accessible for individuals of various ages and learning styles. Over its 10-year span, the size of the site has grown to approximately 7000 pages of content. Traffic to this educational resource has also grown so that a large audience from around the world regularly uses the web site. During the 12-month period between July 2004 and June 2005, 9 million users accessed Windows to the Universe; approximately half of users were from outside the United States.

The Windows to the Universe Internet project is managed by the Office of Education and Outreach at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. Recently, we have had the opportunity to expand our efforts by developing new web site content, new middle and high school classroomscience activities, and new workshops for educators on two atmospheric science topics: climate and space weather. Our growing content about climate and global change fosters connections between various aspects of the Earth system. The incipient space weather section will pull existing space weather pages together with new content to cover the subject comprehensively.

As we have been expanding our content, we have also been translating the entire Windows to the Universe web site into Spanish. Over the past two years, most of the site has been translated. Users now have the ability to flip easily between English and Spanish versions of each page with the click of their mouse button. This resource has received an enthusiastic response from the Spanish language community within the United States and educators from South American countries.

Recently, potential collaborations with scientists have driven us to develop ways for scientists from outside our staff to easily contributeto the web site. We have developed a web-based system to allow scientist developers to contribute page content to Windows to the Universe about their branch of science.


Session 2, K-12 Educational Outreach Activities for Space Weather
Monday, 30 January 2006, 1:30 PM-2:30 PM, A402

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