The Science Education Gateway (SEGway) project is a national consortium of scientists, museums, and educators working together to bring the latest space science to teachers, students, and the general public. SEGway has developed EPO (education and public outreach) materials for a number of NASA space science missions including the HESSI, FAST, CHIPS and STEREO/IMPACT satellite missions. The SEGway partnership model is founded through a community of educators, science museum personnel, scientists, and institutions such as museums and universities. This highly collaborative network allows partners to leverage their unique skills, resulting in high quality educational resources that benefit teachers, students, the general public, and the science community. SEGway is part of the Center for Science Education (CSE) at the UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL).
The National Virtual Observatory (NVO) - a ten-year initiative sponsored by NSF will bridge the vast yet separate collections of astronomical data from space and ground-based observatories, providing rapid and seamless access to our knowledge of the Universe. The NVO will enable new modes of scientific investigation and reveal phenomena that have not been detectable to date. As far as the general public is concerned, the NVO Education and Public Outreach program (NVO EPO) will bring knowledge of our Universe and the excitement of discovery into the classrooms and homes of the world.
The NVO EPO effort will be designed to provide the user with an integrated view of the Universe - a system that goes beyond the traditional online portals to the various datasets. The integrated nature of NVO will provide users the opportunity to build knowledge about the Universe by comparing, integrating, and analyzing information from diverse archives, a unique capability provided by NVO that is not offered by individual data archives. NVO will serve members of the art, entertainment, amateur astronomers and pre-service teacher communities. The NVO effort also provides a unique opportunity to enhance technology literacy in a broad sense. It will inform, excite, and educate the public about space science and astronomy, and serve as a catalyst for scientific and technological literacy.
The SEG-NVO project is a NASA funded 3–year project being conducted by SEGway since 2000, which aims at supporting the upcoming National Virtual Observatory’ Education and Public Outreach components. The non-traditional user communities currently being investigated as part of the SEG-NVO project include traditional pre-college educators, and non traditional users such as artists and science museum/planetarium professionals. Amateur astronomers and Spanish speaking communities will also be investigated in the near future. SEGway personnel with expertise in these areas have been working with these communities to identify a subset of images and explanatory text from various NVO-related datasets that respond to the group’s interests. Working with these communities, we will be able to better benchmark and prototype profile-defining automated systems on the web that yield a high degree of success for the user as they search and access NVO-related resources.