New York City Students Launch Virtual Science Museum Full of Interactive Exhibitions
Queens, N.Y. – The excitement of exploring science and technology at the New York Hall of Science may now be experienced in three-dimensional, high-resolution form on personal computers around the world following the recent launch of the Virtual Hall of Science (VHOS).
VHOS is a rich, digital version of NYSCI that provides an immersive environment for visitors to improve their understanding of science and technology through interactive online exhibitions about global climate change, flight, planets, stars and ocean ecosystems. VHOS was developed as part of a National Science Foundation-funded project, which also included Greater Southern Tier BOCES SciCentr, that engaged an ethnically and economically diverse group of young people in designing, building, and staffing the virtual science center. Eighteen local students (14 in high school and four in college) who are part of NYSCI’s Science Career Ladder program participated in the project.
Project participants received 70 hours of training and were responsible for developing and launching VHOS, training middle school youth, and creating a management plan. Participants formed teams, studied interactive design, created the interactive science exhibitions, and used a variety of Web 2.0 tools for collaboration. Prior to the launch, participants beta tested a VHOS prototype with families, NYSCI Explainers, and project staff. Through the project, participants built skills in creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, research and information fluency, critical thinking, problem solving and decision making, digital citizenship, and technology operation concepts.
VHOS will now be used in classrooms and made available to the general public and NYSCI visitors during public open houses. A VHOS Leadership Committee consisting of project participants is being created to oversee the continued development of VHOS and will include representatives for science, education, English language teaching, exhibits and public outreach. Project participants were invited to showcase VHOS at the upcoming NYC Digital Youth Media and Technology Festival, Emoti-Con 2010, on June 19.
VHOS is latest program in NYSCI’s expanding digital learning offerings. NYSCI’s interactive virtual visits annually reach thousands of students in international classrooms and NYSCI’s Crime Scene IT program continues to place computers and other digital tools into New York classrooms providing inquiry-based STEM learning through compelling forensic science “mysteries.”
Funding for the Virtual Hall of Science project was provided by the National Science Foundation.