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4053Re: Planetaria in Lecture / Conference Halls

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  • sharon.shanks
    Feb 10, 2013
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      Kevin - well said.

      I didn't bring up the tilt or the desks - in my facility, when we got new seats during our remodel, there was debate about tilt for the dome vs. tilt for the classroom (too much tilt, and it would be even harder for the students to take notes and - well, stay awake). Not enough tilt, and it was literally painful for planetarium audiences. We compromised, and now it's not comfortable for either.

      The desk arms, with 6 some years of use, are now noisy; ADD kids bang them against the sides the the chairs. I've started having the field trip students put them up; counter-intuitive, but quieter.

      I also don't see the planetarium equipment being used to its best potential for the Intro to Astro classes, and often hear students, current and former, mention to me at public programs that they "only got to see the stars a couple of times," or were shown only parts of fulldome programs. The dome is mostly used for PowerPoint lectures.

      A better solution is class in a lecture hall, moved to the planetarium when its capabilities are needed. I think Ball State, among others, does this.

      However, because YSU does not have many lecture halls with 100+ seating, this means fewer students per class, and thus a smaller "profit per professor" ratio. My situation will never change; all I can do is make the best of it.

      Note: this are my opinions, not those of YSU or my colleagues. :)

      Even closer to Kevin's observations: the planetarium at Farrell High School (western pennsylvania) - the dome is a better fit to the room, but there are still seats that are under the lower ceiling. The desks were state of the art 30 years ago, with push-button feed back systems that stopped working decades ago. The chairs tilt back. And squeak. Can you say rocking chairs?

      In both cases, students see the equipment (at YSU, the projectors and the dome; at Farrell, the push buttons) and assume - legitimately, I think - that they will be using them or they will be used as part of the class.

      At Farrell, explaining that the buttons no longer work is all that it needed. Telling them to sit still is harder and sets up a "crime and punishment" scenario. At YSU, there is no explaining to Intro to Astro students that the equipment that they are being charged a lab fee for will be used for maybe a week in total out of a 15 week class.

      Like Kevin pointed out, it's not a question of fulldome projection being the province of planetariums. It's a question of trying to force a square peg into a round hole - and the bottom budget line.


      --- In fulldome@yahoogroups.com, KDConod wrote:

      I don't think its an issue of being narrow-minded..remember this sort of thing (sans the moveable dome) has been tried before. Spitz built a number of classroom type planetariums. It was always my impression that these were not all that successful. The chairs, which had to tilt, made a lot of noise and often broke, plus school groups made a lot of noise messing around with the folding tabletops. Then there's the issue Sharon brought up.

      Sometimes if you make to many compromises when it comes to multipurpose spaces, you end up with a space that is not really good for any of its purposes.

      Kevin Conod

      From: Charles Treleaven
      To: fulldome@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Saturday, February 2, 2013 2:07 AM
      Subject: [fulldome] Planetaria in Lecture / Conference Halls

      The sooner we get out of the attitude that Full Dome projection is the preserve of planetariums the better. We need to start thinking sideways, and use the old marketing question - "what is the business of the business" 
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