The investigators address a major educational challenge by introducing a novel format and content for science education (a) building on past successes; (b) combining development and dissemination at a new level; and (c) centered around an interactive planetarium show aimed to inform the public on an emerging scientific discipline and medical field: Tissue Engineering. For achieving a multitude of goals the investigators propose the establishment of a unique partnership in scientific and medical education bringing together university researchers clinical leaders science center experts and students educators and community representatives at all levels. The project is catalyzed by the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of tissue engineering and its application to improving people’s lives. The main goals fall in three categories as follows: Education: – To communicate scientific information about the human body (principles of function will be emphasized over specific facts or terminology by focusing on a limited but fundamental set). -To convey the excitement and importance of tissue engineering research. The show will utilize engaging interactive demonstrations of tissue functions and illustrate the medical uses and potential of this field. Innovation: – To enhance the educational experience. The developers will use group-interactive technology as a tool for education by engaging participants as participants in the processing functions of the body. A special visualization/interactivity laboratory will be used where prototype interactive scenarios will be tested using focus groups consultants and representatives of the target audiences. Dissemination: – To insure national distribution to other planetaria. The presentation system will utilize portable interactive technology (to be developed). It will be deployed to planetaria throughout the country coordinated by the Association of Science and Techology Centers (ASTC). – To engage the target audience in the development process. Content development will be achieved by a consortium of leading research universities and medical centers with input from a panel of worldclass experts. Visualization interactivity and sound technologies will be developed in Pittsburgh in a unique collaboration between the arts and sciences based on past successes. Evaluation activities will be extensive as will the range and targets of the spin-off educational materials. The Carnegie Science Center planetarium itself will serve in achieving group immersive visualization akin to virtual reality for improving target audience involvement. The expected outcome is a new way of delivering educational content and a better understanding of the emerging field of tissue engineering by the general public.
Using a planetarium and related technology this project will produce an interactive multi-media show about tissue engineering to teach students and the public about cells tissues and science. This project goal will be achieved by establishing a unique partnership in scientific and medical education that brings together university researchers clinical leaders science center experts students educators and community representatives at all levels. The Association of Science and Technology Centers will coordinate a presentation system that will utilize portable interactive technology and that will be deployed to planetaria nationwide.