Education Outreach

The satellite hardware and software is now taking shape and we have now completed the development of the ground receiver FUNcube dongle.

Here is an information document about FUNcube that we produced for use at the Association for Science  Education Conference and Exhibition which we attended in early Jan 2012.  FUNcube educational_outreach

AMSAT-UK is now developing the educational outreach part of the project. This includes the design and contents of the “ground station” display (see the Graphical User Interface page), the best method of providing the information so that it relates to the current curricula, and all the  supporting information that will be needed by the teachers.

If you have current educational experience in this area and are willing to help, you would be able to provide the  additional professional advice that we need to carry it forward. In the first instance please make a note of you interest by commenting on this page below.

Richard, G3RWL, has kindly located and scanned some previous educational material from years gone by. They are available for download in two parts below. Its interesting to see that although dating from some decades ago, the principles of teaching and maths/physics itself hasnt changed much.

Space Science Involvement Part 1 Space Science Involvement Part 2

The two files above are published with permission from the ARRL. They are quite big, 4 or 5  Mb.

3 Responses to “Education Outreach”

  1. mavrik56uk Says:

    Hi I am a secondary school teacher in Scotland, although my area is Computing i also have experience in science etc, i would like to help with this project. Kind Regards Fergus Thomson

  2. gw6kzz Says:

    Thank you Richard for scanning and posting the old educational materials, has anyone considered who we are aiming this informational/academic package at or is this work in progress?

    As I taught infant and primary school children as a radio amateur back in the 1990’s through to 1999/2000 when I developed male breast and bone cancer whilst I researched high-speed data from UOSat-12 and other high-speed digital satellites, I had a radio amateur licensed Infant and Primary school teacher Rowland Rees and the whole school parents and teachers onboard too. Much has changed since then and we need access to current infant, primary & secondary school academic school curriculum materials for 2011 and also some idea at what Universities are teaching science courses for undergraduate students for 2011 onwards depending on the life expectancy of the satellite, post grads students can work out and create their own materials. We need to be able to help teachers bring their students classroom work and group activities together so it encapsulates their academic training with the satellite studies too. That way we will see school children’s minds opened again, some will become licensed radio amateurs and some will or might go to Oxford and Cambridge like some of these Welsh school children did back then.

    To develop a good training package for this FUNcube satellite {and possibly KiwiSAT going up at the same time} we need current science and mathematics teachers and a group of radio amateurs from within AMSAT too. Sadly the ITAR and TAA will preclude American radio amateurs or teachers from helping us outside of America with materials as satellites and anything associated with satellites, software, cipher and arms puts them liable to 20 years jail for breaking their ITAR.

    Just read some of Jim’s use cases for developing the graphic user interface (GUI), there needs to be much more thought put into each use case from teacher & radio amateur points of view before the software programmers become involved. It could be useful if someone in the FUNcube inner circle wrote a small information package of what is available from the satellite transmissions of data so they can then write a questionnaire to ask what teachers, school children and university students will want from their GUI running on their laptop whilst one or two of them point the hand-held antenna and the others ensure the data is collected by watching the laptop screen and your GUI software program running.

    I for one would want the FUNcube GUI to display something like WISP GSC front GUI in one corner displaying visible satellite tracking times and satellite window and compass bearing for those holding the antenna to point at the satellite when it is visible. A high tech solution might be a link for a GPS unit to be plugged into the laptop so they know where to look and point their antenna and when they expect to hear the signal from the satellite. Would be great if they could clip their Dad’s car basic SATNAV or GPS unit on the handle of the hand-held antenna that way they know exactly which direction there are pointing.

    GUI will also need to display signal and data streaming down, but also what it means in relationship to the satellite. KiwiSAT team has a wonderful graphic display of the satellite in 3D and data being displayed as it is being received. Young school children and groups will need to see something graphically happening on the laptop program or they are quickly going to loose interest, university students will just want to see data coming down and being stored on the laptop for later retrieval. This academic training package should have started running in parallel with the design and building of the satellite as it is going to take quite a bit of time to get things all together so everyone gets the right GUI display. The GUI needs to be modular so the teacher, student and radio amateur can display as much or as little as they need to capture the data, too much will overwhelm the student, not enough will make them become bored. Think of it as a GUI packet program and a satellite tracking program on screen, but some will want to see what that data means with regards to what the satellite is sending and the GUI is able to display on screen, wouldn’t it be nice if they could see which Solar panels are in direct sunlight and which are in darkness, get the GUI to display a graphic representation of the satellite components and the packets received change as they receive the data would be a dream come true for a school child. Many kids play PC games, they expect your GUI to show what the satellite is doing, so why not give them that?

    Radio amateurs are also going to want to log into the program with their callsign and display other bits of data. Everyone is going to want to add their school/university/callsign or name to any data they send via the Internet so they get credit for its capture just as we did monitoring and download SEDSAT and other satellite data which was then uploaded on the Internet for everyone to be able to access this global information.

    I have more, but tea has just been shouted so I will leave it there, best of luck with the satellite and may be in the New Year I will get chance to purchase a professional and academic FUNcube Dongle too.

    73s Chris GW6KZZ

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