We wouldn't have the great experiences we offer without the efforts of hundreds of volunteers over the years. We have been working with Victor Williamson to try and merge his past records with our new ones. Then we realized that the you probably remember better than we do.
So if you are a past volunteer or staff member we would love your help updating our records. Help us to have your full name, when you started, retired, hours, or any other missing or incorrect details on our spreadsheet. Please highlight any changes you make so we can transfer them to our permanent records. Go to this LINK
We would also love to have a photo of you from around the time you started volunteering. Go to this LINK
We are trying to compile all of this information so we can find a proper way to honor all of your efforts and the ongoing efforts of our volunteers in our new facility.
Thorium Starship Controls Advisory Board Met to Discuss the Future of Thorium
|Alex Anderson Listens as Dr. Ryan Anderson makes a point about Thorium|
Alex Anderson convened Thorium's Advisory Board for its quarterly meeting last Friday evening. The meeting was held at Renaissance Space Academy (RSA) in Lehi. Present were myself representing RSA, Nathan King representing the Lion's Gate Center at Lakeview Academy, Alex DeBirk representing American Heritage School in American Fork (soon to be the home of a new space center), Isaac Baker, a young intern working on a home based ship in northern Utah, Matt Ricks, and Thorium's creator Alex Anderson. Present online was Dr. Ryan Anderson from the Telos Discovery Space Center.
Several topics were up for discussion including:
1. Current problems with the new version of Thorium recently released.
2. Alex and Crystal Anderson's move to Boston in August. Crystal Anderson has been admitted to the law school at Boston University. Alex assured those present that he would continue to work on Thorium from Boston.
3. The "Sandbox" 3D Thorium controls soon to be in development. Thorium is a labor of love on Alex's part. It is his way of ensuring future generations will have access to the same kind of space edventures he had growing up at the CMSEC.
4. Dr. Anderson discussed new ideas for targeting in Thorium.
5. Matt Ricks questioned Alex about using Thorium to interface with dial and switch panels. Matt and Alex Debirk are about to construct several innovative engineering panels for the Starship Voyager at RSA and the new simulators under construction at the CMSC.
Of course Alex Anderson has his real programming career, so time spent on Thorium is taken from his free time at home; so not only does the Space EdVenturing community thank Alex for his work, but we also acknowledge and thank his wife Crystal for supporting this passion of his. The Anderson's are impacting thousands of Utah students every year through the simulators which use Thorium controls.
Everyone left the meeting excited about Thorium's future.
The next meeting will be held sometime in the Spring.
The Effectiveness of Experiential Education
Those of us in the Space EdVentures community know the importance of experiential education. It is our field of expertise. It is what we do with our spaceship simulators and simulations. I started starship simulations during my student teaching at Central Elementary in 1983. We used poster board control panels for starship controls. I played the main computer and all characters sitting behind my desk with overhead projector. My use of simulations went beyond my fictional starship. I created historical simulations which ran through most of the school year. These simulations included:
1. World War One living through the Russian experience.
2. The Russian Revolution of 1917.
3. The Weimar Republic of Germany
4. The rise of the Nazi party and World War II
5. Post World War two and the rise of communism.
Even today former students of mine will either stop me in a store or send an email telling me how much they learned and enjoyed those simulations. Students like Kenny Packer, who sent the following message over Christmas.
|Kenny Packer as the Russian Tsar with Prime Minister Ryan Tingey (1988) and Kenneth Packer and wife today in Russia|
Your classroom was inspiring. This was the beginning of my interest and love for Russia, my career path in instruction, and my self awareness that power can corrupt. I’ll never forget the day you gave me a choice to keep the power after the simulated revolution or give it away to Ben Gurr who was playing the role of Lenin. Having tasted what it felt like to have everyone in the room stand up when you entered etc. I broke from the history you were trying to teach and said I wanted to keep the power for myself. Thank you for teaching us beyond just facts and figures. Your gift for teaching is something I will spend a lifetime trying to learn and replicate.
The tradition of using experiential education continues with my sixth grade classes at Renaissance Academy. My sixth grade history class just completed their Roman government simulation where they bravely fought back the forces of Carthage in a series of three Punic Wars under the leadership of Emperor Lucas.
In addition to the historical simulations, our sixth graders participate in the Space Academy program. They trek through outer space in the school's state of the art Starship Voyager Simulator on EdVentures into the unknown using InfiniD Learning's simulations and / or the Space Academy's curriculum.
Experiential learning is the future of education. With A.I., combined with faster computers and VR headsets, students will soon be taking virtual field trips limited only by imagination.
Does your school offer experiences like this? If not, consider stopping by Renaissance Academy and let me give you a tour of what our school has to offer. We are a free, independent, public charter school so there is no tuition. Come experience education with us. Contact me at Director@SpaceCampUtah.org.
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