3D printing at public libraries – Faulkner Planetarium in Twin Falls set to reopen after upgrade

Photo by JERRY MANTER – KBOI2.com web producer
  • 3D Printing: The Idaho Commission for Libraries has purchased five state-of-the-art 3D printers from Reuseum Educational Inc. in Garden City. The printers will be distributed to libraries throughout the state. Staff members from Reuseum trained library workers on how to operate and maintain the devices. See more photos at KBOI.

 

  • The Faulkner Planetarium in Twin Falls will be opening again on the 19th of November after getting a major upgrade in projectors and sound equipment.  The largest planetarium in Idaho, the Faulkner seats 144 viewers.  Shows are normally scheduled for Tuesday, Fridays and Saturday evenings.

Science Museums

Elementary kids have a high interest in STEM related subjects and science museums throughout Idaho are a great place for families. Science museums have interactive exhibits and a variety of presentations and classes geared children in all elementary grades available to families at low cost. Each museum gets different traveling exhibits and has a different focus for their permanent exhibits. As a bonus, many science museums are part of national coalitions allowing members of one museum to get free or reduced admission to others in the coalition.

What if you only have historical museums near you?  Don’t worry.  While historical museums are not likely to have dinosaurs or water/gravity tables and tend to be more exhibit based than exploratory there is usually still a lot of science than can be gleaned from them.  Idaho’s history has much to do with it’s geology and earth science. For instance almost everywhere, except on the Snake River Plain itself, we have mines, mines, and more mines.  The gold rush to Idaho City, the engineering of Swan Falls Dam being built to provide power to Silver City, and Chinese immigrants, are all because of our mineral heritage.  The bountiful Snake River Plain & Gorge and the Palouse Hills and Lewiston Seaport have their heritage in a fiery (or ashy) volcanic past and more recent gargantuan water hydraulics and yet what was left became fertile farmland.  If your historical museum doesn’t have a list of STEM related topics that you can discuss with your children while visiting the museum check back with us.

One parent’s experience:

     As a new parent I thought that some science museums like the Discovery Center of Idaho that had a lot of electronic displays and such was more for high school students than my elementary age child. That view lasted until our first visit when my son was a kindergartener. He convinced me throughout his elementary years to visit again and again, often taking friends and visiting relatives with us. We became members and have also really enjoyed visiting other science museums in Idaho, Oklahoma, Montana, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, and California. I always check the list of participating museums before taking a trip. –

Note: Some museums close on Mondays, be sure to check their hours before making a long trip.

Links to websites and museum descriptions:

Idaho Association of Museums  http://www.idahomuseums.org/museums.asp

Museums Association of Montana  http://www.montanamuseums.org/

Washington http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_museums_in_Washington

Oregon Museums Association http://www.oregonmuseums.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1601338

Nevada http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_museums_in_Nevada

Utah http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_museums_in_Utah

Wyoming http://www.wyomingtourism.org/thingstodo/overview/Museums/1449467

Alberta -Canada http://culture.alberta.ca/museums/historicsiteslisting/default.aspx

British Columbia – Canada http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_museums_in_British_Columbia

 

 

Volunteer in STEM classes by Video Conferencing

A new way to volunteer in the classroom.

Video conferencing has changed and new software is making the transition for teachers and businesses as easy as surfing the web, all for free or very inexpensive. Just this last week I’ve participated in a Google Hangout for a class I am taking on Disruptive Technologies, watched a saved Google Hangout where several elementary classrooms were talking with a sewage treatment plant, and used Zoom to check down the hall to see how my son was doing on his English homework.

The cameras at both ends are active and the classroom can see themselves on the screen as well as the speaker and any other guests or participating classrooms. Most of the conferencing software works on Android and Apple devices as well as laptops. With Zoom’s max of 25 participants, a guest speaker could see every student if they had their own tablet.

 6 video conferencing alternatives and links  (including Google Hangouts & Zoom)
http://venturebeat.com/2013/08/27/lets-dump-webex-and-gotomeeting-for-hosting-web-conferences/

A new start-up, Nepris, https://zoom.us/case/nepris has focused on video conferencing specifically to link teachers and appropriate professionals for guest lecturers in STEM subjects. They have been pilot testing in Texas, where they are located, and use Zoom as their video conferencing backbone. The teachers enter a request for a guest speaking about xyz and businesses can search the requests and see if they can match up. Nepris gives the business some lecture outlines and helpful information about the subject matter as it might be presented in the school.

With Idaho’s geographical challenges it seems that joining a venture like Nepris or creating our own would be a great way for students in one part of the state to take advantage of business expertise in another without the need for specific classroom setups or difficult software installations.

Would you be able to volunteer if you were able to conference in instead of driving to a school?

 

See some of the Nepris pilot programs in the link below:

http://storify.com/neprisapp/real-world-at-work-in-classrooms-across-texas?utm_source=businesswire.com&awesm=sfy.co_gUC6&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter&utm_content=storify-pingback&utm_campaign=

Mythbusters coming to Boise

We just got some exciting news from the Discovery Center!  Mythbusters is coming to Boise during Thanksgiving week.  If you are like my family you may have seen almost every episode and if you didn’t see the seasons while they were happening then Netflix will come to your rescue.  The show, featuring the two main cast members, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, will put on a show at the Morrison Center on BSU’s campus.  If you are a Discovery Center of Idaho member you can get a discount on the tickets, make sure to check with the Discovery Center for the coupon code.

And don’t forget you can find links etc. on our SW Idaho calendar.

So details:

Tuesday, November 26 at 7:30 pm

Tickets thru the Morrison Center

Regular Ticket Prices (service fees not included):
P1 $125.00 Orchestra Rows A – C * P1 Includes post-show Meet & Greet *
P2 $75.00 Floor Rows AA – E; Mezzanine Row A
P3 $65.00 Floor Rows F – M
P4 $55.00 Floor Rows N – Z
P5 $55.00 Mezzanine Rows B – I
P6 $45.00 Mezzanine Rows J – N

Site Update

Since we are a site which talks about technology this is a quick post to talk about what we’ve used to create this site.

We are currently using WordPress, hosted with DreamHost, to create the entire site with several static pages and one main blog page.

We have enabled and loaded several plugins:

  • Jetpack, which gives us some of out side bar widgets
  • Participants Database, for our membership tracking
  • All-in-One Calendar, to provide our statewide calendar

There is room for continued improvement but this should get us up and running and ready to receive guests.

Welcome.