AAS 202nd Meeting, May 2003
Session 10 Astronomy Education: Middle School to College
Poster, Monday, May 26, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, West Exhibit Hall

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[10.10] Handheld Devices with Wide-Area Wireless Connectivity: Applications in Astronomy Educational Technology and Remote Computational Control

R. D. Budiardja, E. J. Lingerfelt (Dept. Physics and Astronomy, U. Tennessee), M. W. Guidry (Dept. Physics and Astronomy, U. Tennessee; ORNL Physics Division*)

Wireless technology implemented with handheld devices has attractive features because of the potential to access large amounts of data and the prospect of on-the-fly computational analysis from a device that can be carried in a shirt pocket. We shall describe applications of such technology to the general paradigm of making digital wireless connections from the field to upload information and queries to network servers, executing (potentially complex) programs and controlling data analysis and/or database operations on fast network computers, and returning real-time information from this analysis to the handheld device in the field. As illustration, we shall describe several client/server programs that we have written for applications in teaching introductory astronomy. For example, one program allows static and dynamic properties of astronomical objects to be accessed in a remote observation laboratory setting using a digital cell phone or PDA. Another implements interactive quizzing over a cell phone or PDA using a 700-question introductory astronomy quiz database, thus permitting students to study for astronomy quizzes in any environment in which they have a few free minutes and a digital cell phone or wireless PDA. Another allows one to control and monitor a computation done on a Beowulf cluster by changing the parameters of the computation remotely and retrieving the result when the computation is done. The presentation will include hands-on demonstrations with real devices.

*Managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #3
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.