Contact Victor Williamson with your questions about simulator based experiential education programs for your school.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

This is Why We're In The Space Education Business. Meet the Young Astronauts. The Mission Map from the Late 1990's with The Whispering Nebula. Two Special Events Coming Up. Bracken Funk Returns to Active Space Duty (That Darn Reactivation Clause). Meet Dr. Ryan Anderson Taking Simulator Based Learning into New Territory. Erin Williams is Back. Sign Up for Summer Camp. Theater Imaginarium.

The Third Grade Phoenix Squadron (four were absent) on their last flight for this school year. The 8 month mission is finally over.  They won the mission with outstanding scores.
Hello Space Fans,
     Look at these great kids. They are my 3rd grade Young Astronauts Phoenix Squadron. My outstanding staff and volunteers at Renaissance Academy teach and flight direct 26 squadrons just like this. Our squadrons cover grades 3 to 12.  We see one or two squadrons every day after school. We also have two Saturday squadrons. They've been on an eight month long mission in the Starship Voyager. In addition to their time in the simulator, they spent hours with me studying astronomy, technology, and the history of space travel - our curriculum topics for this school year.  
     These kids, just like the hundreds of thousands who came before them, are the reason I created the Space Center back in 1990. They are the "why" in this business. I encourage everyone in this growing field of education to remember this. 

This is the "I Can Do Anything" pose. The True Victory Over Impossible Odds Pose.
Friends, I give you the Phoenix Squadron

     My entire professional life has been devoted to this endeavor. I've spent the last five years encouraging cooperation between the space centers - each of which is sponsored by different organizations. That collaborative spirit has taken hold. We're seeing more staff and volunteers taking jobs at more than one space center. Volunteers work between centers.  Missions and resources are shared and the Center leaders meet regularly to discuss how we can best serve the people of Utah and most importantly, Utah's students. 
     As the founder of the CMSEC, it is the icing on the cake to see what has evolved from those humble beginnings in the Spring of 1983 when I first sat on the floor behind my desk in room 19 at Central Elementary with a cassette tape player and overhead projector in hand taking my 30 students using poster board controls into the depths of space. Today there are five space centers with 13 simulators, a company called InfinD taking simulator based learning to the world, and a complete rebuild of the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center just two years away. And lets not forget our friends at Dream Flight Adventures. 
     Please come celebrate this success at two upcoming events (below). I hope to see you there.

Mr. Williamson

BJ Warner, Caity Lee, Emily Paxman

Former CMSEC Staff. You're Invited to a Special Event
     On May 17th at 7pm, you are invited to the Space Center's Honors Night. We want to pay tribute to past staff members as a thank you for your efforts to get us where we are today. We hope that local former staff members will be able to join us in the festivities. Please RSVP by filling out the link provided. I hope this message reaches all our old staff so we can get together for a big hurrah as we celebrate the past and announce some exciting news for the future.

The bridge of the Jump Carrier Hyperion
Telos Academy, Vineyard, Utah.
Come Join Us for the Hyperion's Official Launch
     Stop on by Memorial Weekend (May 26th), and walk the bridge of the spaceship yourself at the Grand Opening party located at 600 S Geneva Road, Orem UT and meet Dr Anderson and the team!

Bracken Funk at the Microphone

The USS Voyager Welcomes Bracken Funk to Active Space Service Once Again

      Bracken Funk is one of the most experienced flight directors in the guild. He started with me way back in the day as a young volunteer at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center. He worked his way up through the ranks to Ranger supervisor and then Flight Director.  

Young Bracken as an Odyssey Flight Director. Summer 2007

      Bracken is a talented storyteller, flight director and teacher; and let's not forget his talent at writing a pretty good mission as well.  
     I've always said that if I really needed someone's help, the right person would walk through the door. Bracken walked through my classroom door at Renaissance Academy just when we needed his help. With 26 Young Astronaut and Voyager squadrons, we're swamped with after school work. There was also a need for more help for the Voyager's private mission programs.  Bracken recently switch jobs. He gets off work at 3:00 P.M. now and his drive home takes him right by Renaissance Academy.  Our Young Astronaut programs start at 3:45 P.M.  Our private missions start at 6:00 P.M.  It's a perfect match.
     Bracken started this week. His energy and enthusiasm is contagious. If he isn't flying, he's sitting at the Briefing Room's desk punching out damage reports, mission messages, flight binders, and most of all, bringing both his and my old missions back from the grave to be retold in the new USS Voyager.  With Bracken, Alex Debirk, Isaac Ostler, Maeson Busk, Spencer Baird, and Jensen Caldwell I'm not boasting at all when I say that the Starship Voyager has the Dream Team of talent. 
Mr. W.  

The Mission Map for a Late 1990's Summer Camp. Fond Memories of The Whispering Nebula 

Mr. Williamson's White Board with all the Summer Camp Missions Mapped Out for Briefings
Late 1990's.  Any of these look familiar?
Hello Troops,
     Look at this gem I discovered in a pile of old photos. One of our more artistic staff took the setting for each of our summer camp missions from the late 1990's (ignore the '94 date on the photo. I never changed the date on the camera. Didn't know how and didn't care).
This was the summer I told my "Whispering Nebula" story. It was a one time flash in the pan story. You know the kind, good enough to get you through the season but not good enough to have staying power.  The Whispering Nebula was another of my Borg stories. The Borg fascinated me back in the day; hence this story and Shadows to name a few where they played prominent roles. 
     This was the summer I decided to give each crew a Level 3 mission. No help whatsoever from bridge staff. They were on their own to sink or swim. Most crews died between 10 and 15 times in a five hour period.  Most of them blew up repeatedly at the start of the mission. The story had them using a jump gate to get to the nebula. The jump gate had a precise set of requirements in order to be used successfully. Most young crew just blundered they way forward, not wanted to follow the operating instruction precisely. They paid the price for their impatience over and over again. 
     As a Voyager staff, we thought our summer scores for The Whispering Nebula would sink the ship in the post camp ratings. We were pleasantly surprised. The Voyager got the highest overall simulator satisfaction scores.  The campers liked the fact that they were truly in command of the ship and had to pay for their mistakes.  
     Who knows, perhaps The Whispering Nebula will make a return in the new Voyager at Renaissance Academy.

Mr. Williamson  

With Admiral Ryan Anderson at the Helm, The Jump Carrier Hyperion at Telos Academy in Vineyard Takes Experiential Simulator based learning into New Territory

Dr. Ryan Anderson on the Bridge of the Jump Carrier Hyperion. Telos Academy. Vineyard, Utah.
Taking a ship into space is a big job. For Dr. Ryan Anderson and his team, it is a daily adventure. The newly completed ship, USS Hyperion at the Telos Discovery Space Center, is the latest simulator in a large fleet he directs.

As a PhD, Anderson took a clinical look at why these are so powerful at contributing to student’s accelerated learning. Anderson remarked, “The Space Center is a place where imagination is used as a tool to kindle personal development. While engaging in exciting story lines, crew members experience social, emotional, intellectual, and character growth.”

Cramming a star ship into an office building is a big project. Dr Anderson said it took several months and the biggest challenges were working around the buildings infrastructure, and in many cases he had to build the plan entirely backwards to adapt it to the building. Great news--it looks fantastic!
Erin Williams is Back at the CMSEC
Erin with Nolan Welch at 2nd Chair
     I stopped by the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center on Saturday to deliver a couple dozen donuts to some of the finest people I know on this good green Earth and to my surprise found a long lost Erin Williams at the Magellan's helm.  Erin has been gone for surgery for the past little while but is healed and with microphone in hand, back in the saddle again; back where a friend is a friend..... (you old timers should remember that song, my old Voyager wake up from death time song).  Welcome back Erin!
Sign Up for a Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center Summer Camp
If your summer checklist is like ours then you better sign up right away for Space Camp!

Day Camps: 8:30am-5:30pm $45
Officer Camps: 8:30am-8:30pm $65
Extended Camps: 9:00am-7:00pm $65

All four simulators have brand new missions so you can attend multiple camps.

Imaginarium Theater
The Best Gifs of the Week from Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience

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