Thursday, July 2, 2009

skype and the "Multiverse"

"So, here’s the problem. Once your students find out that we have the capability to blog and/or videoconference with authors and professionals from around the world, they think we should do it all the time. Imagine that." Karl Fisch- from Araphoe Highschool in Colorado.

This is an interesting turn of events. On his blog, the Fischbowl, this technology leader Karl Fisch details a recent English class assignment which resonated with me. His kids interviewed a living author of a book they wanted to read who was living in England. Of course, they were in Colorado. After that, Fisch says now the kids want to do this all the time. Shift happened.

When I was teaching earth science ( they gave me three different science classes in two years!!!) I found out about the WMAP, which is essentially a map of the universe from almost the beginning of The Big Bang, which reveals a void empty of all matter the relative size of 16 full moons in the sky. This "hole" is huge! The scientist discussing the hole was on NPR. So, I downloaded the story since I was not allowed to access it the normal way though the school internet... too dangerous ... put it on a CD and took it to class. In the meantime, I emailed the scientist, Lawrence Rudnick, and he emailed me BACK!!!! At the time, we did not have any way to set up a telephone or email conference call live in the classroom and he had a class to attend to at the same time I did so no phone call. But, I did have the pleasure of reading the email to my class and pointed out that in this day and time, you have access to things if you will just seek them out.

Beyond that, the great nothing discovered in the sky has led to a new theory from yes!!! UNC -CH. This radio broadcast will blow your mind. What if our universe was one bubble in a bunch of bubbles?

That seems as impossible to us now as the idea of a self-governing country equal to England's aristocracy must have seemed to the loyalists in the 1700s. But, it's probably not impossible if we do not give up the fundamental study of science (as opposed to only applied and practical science).

Now, what about skype? When I was visiting my brother earlier this month, his brother-in-law called us on the phone via skype through his computer. He was in Seoul, Korea. He flys a huge UPS aircraft. The next night he called from somewhere else even further away and the next night he was back in Alaska. He comes home very often. I mean he can be anywhere on the globe in 24 hours and back home. And the call via skype was clear as if it was from Charlottesville.

Now if he would call the iphone and use his computer camera, I assume we could see each other too. Now, we could not do that 10 years ago when I had a series of au pairs. My girls were from France, Switzerland, South Africa and Belgium. Each year it got cheaper to call home, but unfortunately for Valerie from France, it was VERY expensive. Sabrina, from Belgium, was not too bothered by it but she still had to pay for it. Now skype? Free?

So, prepare for calls from more and more tourists...and know enough about your history to encourage them to visit.

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