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Virtual Field Trips: Using Google Maps to Support Online Learning and Teaching of the History of Astronomy
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http://aip.metastore.ingenta.com/content/aas/journal/aer/7/2/10.3847/AER2008022
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Figures

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Figure 1.

Main Page: location display mode. William Herschel’s former house at 19 New King Street, Bath, United Kingdom, as seen from the ATsite. The textual description and image are obtained from a content management system (CMS): note the automatically generated hyperlinks (blue) into the COSMOS Online Encyclopedia, which is also stored in the CMS.

Image of Figure 2.

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Figure 2.

Main Page: country display mode. Locations currently identified for Australia.

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Figure 3.

Structure of the Astronomical Tourist Web site. The Web server holds both the ATSite content (HTML and text data files for each location) and the content management system components: Drupal and Coppermine.

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Figure 4.

Overlay showing the alignment of Stonehenge with the northern hemisphere summer sunrise and sunset (blue lines). Note that the azimuth is determined for an obliquity of 23.5 degrees, which places the sunrise over the Heel Stone, compared with the alignment along the symmetry axis that would have occurred during Stonehenge’s original era of use ago.

Tables

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Table 1.

The four major providers of digital Web maps. URLs are given for the public user interface to each mapping project and the development interfaces for building mapping applications

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Table 2.

Summary of student use of the ATsite to support essays for the HOA course in first semester 2008. The Locations column indicates the total number of unique locations identified by students who completed each essay topic

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Table 3.

Questions relating to prior knowledge∕use of Google Maps. Students are identified as A–E

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Table 4.

Questions relating to students’ experiences using the ATsite. Students are identified as A–E

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Table 5.

Questions relating to the use of the ATsite in SAO assessment items. Students are identified as A–E

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Table 6.

Questions relating to potential future use of the ATsite. Students are identified as A–E

Abstract

I report on a pilot study on the use of Google Maps to provide virtual field trips as a component of a wholly online graduate course on the history of astronomy. The Astronomical Tourist Web site (http:∕∕astronomy.swin.edu.au∕sao∕tourist), themed around the role that specific locations on Earth have contributed to the development of astronomical knowledge, was created using the Google Maps application programming interface. Students used this Web site as a component of their assessment and to help motivate and support online discussions. The site also aims to help build a stronger online community among geographically distributed students as they share in the creation of an Internet resource that will be used and enhanced by others over time. I describe the structure of the Web site and how it was integrated into student essays, and I provide a summary of student responses to this new learning and teaching approach. This project is an example of how Web 2.0 applications can be used to build new learning environments.

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Scitation: Virtual Field Trips: Using Google Maps to Support Online Learning and Teaching of the History of Astronomy
http://aip.metastore.ingenta.com/content/aas/journal/aer/7/2/10.3847/AER2008022
10.3847/AER2008022
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