We head off on an epic adventure with today’s featured August App for education, with the spectacular Star Walk™ Astronomy Guide, which is available for iPad, Android, or Windows 8.
Although many schools explore astronomy at some level, it is often quite difficult to share the live night sky because – well, because schools are in session during daylight hours. Danny Nicholson recently wrote in UKEdMagazine about website that can transport your classroom into space (albeit virtually!) via very detailed, comprehensive websites that can be shared on an interactive whiteboard. The technology is fantastic, but there is nothing quite like actually gazing at the night sky for real.
It can seem overwhelming when you are – provoking many wondrous questions: What is that bright star up there? How many millions of light years away are those constellations? Where is Professor Brian Cox when you need him (purely for intergalactic gazing purposes, of course!)?
Star Walk™ Astronomy Guide is a phenomenal app, utilising Augmented Reality (AR) to help you discover the wonders of what we are able to see in the universe from our tiny little spec of a planet. Hang on, so why are we featuring this app when it works best under a night sky? Mainly for four reasons:
- The app works during the day! Yes, the AR feature will tell you the position of planets at the current time in relation to you;
- The information contained within the app is enough to keep the most inquisitive minds finding out facts and interesting information – including a regularly updated gallery, a calendar telling you what to look out for, and information about specific stars or constellations that you see – It’s pretty comprehensive.
- Start a star gazing club. Encourage pupils and parents to visit school together every now and then so you can all stir and wonder together. Invite guest speakers along from local astronomy groups (see this list, for example). These after-school / evening clubs can be great fun and also a possible fund raiser (drinks, food etc.).
- It’s just a great app for your students to play around with using their own devices in their own time. Being available on the most popular mobile app stores it can help foster a genuine interest in star-gazing.
The depth of information within this app is what makes it stand out, in our opinion, with the Augmented Reality and visual layout also making it very welcome. We think this app has lots of potential for education, as star gazing can really engage children who should be encouraged to be in awe at the galaxies around us.
Star Walk™ Astronomy Guide is available for iPad/iPhone (£1.99*); Google Play Android (£1.71*); Amazon Android (£1.82*); or Windows Phone (£1.69*), from the following app stores (click to view):
*Prices correct at time of publication, and are subject to variance.
Images via: Vito Technology (App Developer)