The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) provided an excellent opportunity to engage the formal education community in the excitement of astronomical discovery as a vehicle for improving the teaching of science in classrooms around the world. An incredibly rich store of useful astronomy resources is available for such an effort, much of it in digital form and freely available on the internet. However, experienced educators and outreach specialists identify a critical impediment: many teachers lack the training to understand these resources or use them effectively in their curricula.
To address this problem and to sustain the legacy of IYA2009, the IAU – in collaboration with the National Nodes and leaders in the field such as the Global Hands-On Universe project, the US National Optical Astronomy Observatory and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific – embarked on a unique global effort to empower teachers by developing the Galileo Teacher Training Program (GTTP).
The GTTP goal is to create a worldwide network of Galileo Ambassadors and Galileo Teachers. These Ambassadors train Teachers in the effective use and transfer of astronomy education tools and resources into classroom science curricula. The Galileo Teachers are equipped to train other teachers in these methodologies, leveraging the work begun during IYA2009 in classrooms everywhere. Through workshops, online training tools and basic education kits, the products and techniques developed by this programme can be adapted to reach locations with few resources of their own, as well as computer-connected areas that can take advantage of access to robotic optical and radio telescopes, webcams, astronomy exercises, cross-disciplinary resources, image processing and digital universes (web and desktop planetariums).
- Expand GTTP Network of Galileo Teachers and Ambassadors.
- Create a network of Galileo Schools in over 100 countries by 2015.
- An active social media hub for Galileo Teachers.
- A resource repository adapted to different needs.