Space Weather Action Center / Space Weather Media Viewer

Project Name:
Space Weather Action Center/Space Weather Media Viewer


Project Description:
Space Weather Action Center is an exciting program that provides the opportunity for students, teachers and parents to access science instrument data from ground and space based research, enabling them to ask and answer their own questions about space weather. The program is designed as an innovative approach that integrates cross-disciplinary techniques to use the heliophysics data from the mission instruments. It empowers participants with the ability to instantly retrieve, analyze and report NASA satellite and observatory data with confidence, ease and accuracy.

(Evaluation)This visionary approach provides a tested framework within the formal education community, that has been evaluated and revised based on the NASA Product review.

(On-line) With SWAC, students access near real-time space weather NASA data, and follow easy instructions and well-defined protocols that allow them to correctly interpret such data. SWAC represents a new approach to teaching science and technology in classrooms, as students are encouraged to act like real scientists by accessing, collecting, analyzing, recording, and communicating space weather forecasts. Instructional guides, materials, sample scripts and methods are available on the Space Weather Action Center Web site (http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/swac). Ultimately, students' forecasts can be presented through a variety of accessible media including inexpensive video editing software and/or already existing school-based broadcast studios. 
SWAC is used in classrooms in public, private and home school education communities, both as a classroom curriculum connection and for enrichment.

SWAC has been incorporated into the Challenger Center Network and is used with several of their scenarios as students turn their space craft or antennae to prevent damage from a solar storm in each of these settings we have received positive evaluation feedback and have spent time to revise based on teacher feedback. Both students and teachers felt the addition of the Space Weather media Viewer Mobile allowed them to participate in a deeper learning experience. More significantly, the combination of the connection to NASA, rich visuals on the app and the use of handheld technology provided motivation and excitement for the students. Students had the sense that they were working with the same data that scientists did, and that they were studying Space Weather in a scientific way. 
Examining the public as a secondary audience, the data suggests that the app increases the ability of the public to see first-hand NASA data, revealing the dynamic nature of the sun-earth system.

Program Objective:
To bring NASA Heliophysics data into a classroom to gain interest in heliophysics and provide an interest level that maintains students’ involvement in STEM careers.


  • Using educational technology in the classroom
  • Use of near real-time data
  • Analyzing data
  • Summarizing data
  • Predicting a space weather event
  • Communicating results through multi-media technology


Lead Institution:
Goddard Space Flight Center


Partnerships:

  • MMS
  • ACE
  • Hinode
  • IBEX
  • RHESSI
  • SDO
  • SOHO
  • STEREO
  • THEMIS
  • Voyager
  • ULYSSES
  • NOAA
  • Ideum, Inc.


Effectiveness and Impact:
Evaluation findings and impact statements:
As SWAC is an on-going program, it has been evaluated to meet stated goals and objectives. We have followed a set of metrics in the past all of the work in the development and maintenance of SWAC has been through SED. 

Objective Metrics


  • Utilize SWAC to give educators access to Heliophysics data and provide educators additional heliophysics knowledge through professional development activities
  • Survey to determine effectiveness of training for classroom use. Indicator for success exceeding 90%
  • 
Identify and promote increased interest in heliophysics and provide the means to pursue these interests in education environments
  • Educators will use the communication center to ask questions share their ideas and successes and failures.
  • Indicator frequent use in communication center
  • Promote diverse under-represented audience participation in heliophysics programs

     

  • Indicator use of SWAC and additional ALERTS recorded.

  • Increase informal audiences’ awareness of the Sun and space science careers by providing NASA content, specifically in heliophysics.

Web stats for SWAC would be expected to increase over previous years, questionnaires of continued awareness of the Sun and space science careers.

Reviewing the ratings and commentary of the app within the context of the iTunes store, the app received 72 ratings with an average rating of 4 stars. There were 33 individual comments most of which showed favorable comments. The majority of downloads are from the US but individuals from UK, Italy, Australia, Spain, Germany, Poland, Canada, Brazil and Greece where among other countries to download the app. In March there were 41,000 downloads, but for the most part an average of 1,000 per week is the norm. There are currently 3000 teachers who use SWAC world wide. A large group in Brazil through the Education Minister translated the entire website into Portuguese for use in their schools, reporting good success and use.

Audience quote:
“They [the students] feel more like scientists, looking at specific data. They get the experience of observation and inferences and hypothesis. They go through that process, asking questions, that’s what’s really important about science, understanding the tools and the methods.”