The R I T Insight Lab for Science Outreach and Learning Research, Led by Dr. Jake Noel-Storr

The R I T Insight Lab for Science Outreach and Learning Research, Led by Dr. Jake Noel-Storr

The R·I·T Insight Lab for Science Outreach and Learning Research, led by Dr. Jake Noel-Storr and Dr. Stefi Baum, continues to develop, test and deliver cutting edge science education and outreach activities, and research the effectiveness of all learners, in domains centered in Astronomy, Imaging Science, and all sciences in general.

We have active collaborations across campus with faculty and staff in the College of Science, Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences. We are actively in the process of seeking funding for research and programs in the areas shown to the left, along with funding to support the infrastructure necessary to conduct educational research within CIS and beyond.

In 2007-08 the lab supported 9 students earning credit for independent studies in astronomy, science education and digital immersive environments / collaboration. We employed three students on co-op to work on our projects, along with another 8 undergrad researchers, 4 high school interns, and an honors pre-freshman.


The lab developed a new interdisciplinary science class for R·I·T Honors students – “Frontiers of Science” – which brought together faculty from across the College of Science to deliver four weeks of lecture on cutting edge research topics, followed by 6 weeks of interactive activities and laboratory visits to expose students to the real research occurring on the R·I·T campus.

Extending the partnership with the American Astronomical Society the lab is becoming responsible for coordinating many of the K-12 and Educator outreach efforts of the society. In particular we are coordinating the plans to host Educator workshops and a K-12 AstroZone event prior to each of the societies conferences (held twice a year nationwide), ensuring that the reach of our outreach extend nationally. We are developing a new partnership with the American Geophysical Union and NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center to run “Exploration Station”, a spin-off of AstroZone, at the start of each one of their two annual meetings held around the United States.

At the first ImagineRIT festival held this May, the Insight Lab (and its students) won a supporting sponsor ribbon for our “Immersed in Science” digital immersive cube which we had on display in the Gordon Field House.

A major part of the lab’s mission has become to develop digital immersive environments, and associated science education content. A master’s student in information technology has been working with our lab on his thesis on understanding effective practices and learning outcomes from this type of educational practice.

Grants Awarded

NSF CreativeIT “Collaboritorium for Interdisciplinary Creativity”

(PI: Jon Schull [Golisano College]; Co-PI Jake Noel-Storr) To develop and build a unique tinkerable space for novel, technology enabled collaboration and immersive teaching.

NASA ROSES E/PO Supplement “The Journey of a Photon”

(Science PI: Don Figer; E/PO Lead: Jake Noel-Storr) To work with a group of high school students to produce a museum quality digital immersive production on the Journey of a Photon (from astrophysical source to detector).

NASA ROSES E/PO “NASA Family Science Nights (Evaluation)”

(PI: Jake Noel-Storr) To evaluate and research learning occurring at the monthly NASA family science nights held at Goddard Space flight Center.

Publications and Presentations

“Family Astronomy: Improving Practices and Developing New Approaches” Noel-Storr, Drobnes & Mitchell, in EPO and a Changing World: Creating Linkages and Expanding Partnerships: The 119th Annual ASP Meeting”, eds. Catharine D. Garmany and Michael G. Gibbs (in press)

“NASA Family Science Night: Changing Perceptions One Family at a Time” Drobnes, Mitchell, Colina-Trujillo & Noel-Storr, in COSPAR Advances in Space Research (in press)

“Reaching Out and Impacting Local Communities” Drobnes & Noel-Storr, in Spark: The AAS Education Newsletter, Issue 4

“AstroTrek: Astronomical Learning Expeditions” Noel-Storr, 210th Meeting of the AAS

“Willingness to Pay for a Clear Night Sky: Use of the Contingent Valuation Method” Simpson, Noel-Storr & Winebrake, 209th Meeting of the AAS (poster)

“Effectively Engaging Family Groups in Learning Astronomy” Noel-Storr, 209th Meeting of the AAS (poster)

“Family Astronomy: Improving Practices and Developing New Approaches” Noel-Storr, Drobnes & Mitchell, 119th Meeting of the ASP (workshop)

“What's Up? Elementary School Classroom Activities from the Association for Astronomy Education”, 2007 NSTA National Convention (workshop)

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Dr. Jeff Pelz discusses visual perception to the Frontiers of Science class in the Collaboritorium