The 1st GTTP workshop in Venezuela took place during February 1st and 2nd at the Centre for Research in Astronomy CIDA, www.cida.ve. The effort was organized by the Galileo Teacher Training (GTTP) ambassador in Venezuela, Prof. Enrique Torres (the outreach coordinator at CIDA) and members of the GTTP network. This event is the continuation of the astronomy training of teachers and multipliers effort, started in 2006 with the “Universe Awareness Programme”, a programme to inspire young children.

During the workshop teachers had the opportunity to get acquainted with the knowledge and tools to study and analyze celestial bodies through techniques of astrophotography processing software and digital imaging. Participants can now develop research projects with their students and teach curricular content using the analysis of characteristics of the Solar System (planets, satellites, asteroids, comets), monitoring of variable stars, novae, supernovae discovery and anything else that can be studied through the analysis of astronomical images.

GTTP program, was selected by the International Year of Astronomy 2009 as one of its “Cornerstone Programs ” and has been widely developed in many countries, specifically focused on teachers.

The workshop was held in the information center facilities (Infocentro) located in the CIDA Foundation. The venue was distribute in 9 sessions over 2 days, 4 of these were developed in person and were given by members of the outreach staff (Mr. Enrique Torres and Mr. Antonio Ballesteros) and the research (Dr. Kathy Vivas) of CIDA. The remaining 5 sessions were via videoconference, they were given by GTTP and Hands On Universe (HOU) coordinators and teachers from: Portugal (Rosa Doran, GTTP Chair), Spain (Ana Gomez – GTTP-HOU-Spain) –
and the United States (Constance Walker – National Optical and Astronomical Observatory (NOAO) and Richard Loham – University of California – Berkeley).

The content of the workshop included the use of Stellarium and SalsaJ programs for recognition of the sky and digital imaging of celestial objects (asteroids, planets, variable stars, supernovae, galaxies count etc.). Educators also received a wealth of information on procedures and materials for teaching astronomy in the HOU program, Europe and USA.

The workshop, organized in Venezuela by Mr. Enrique Torres, Outreach Astronomical Coordinator of CIDA, comes to repowering the teacher training program being conducted by the CIDA nationwide. It was attended by a total of 38 teachers who were very pleased with the content and development of the workshop and in particular with the possibility of interaction with international teachers and coordinators via videoconference.

Using the various tools learned, teachers now can bring new research experiences to students in order to advance astronomical projects using the vast amount of data provided by the National Observatory of Llano del Hato, Venezuela and also coordinating with researchers and outreach staff at CIDA for the analysis and development of these projects.

It is estimated that almost 3000 students will be trained in 2011 by the teachers who attend the workshop.

Globally there are thousands of students, using such tools, making significant discoveries in astronomy and above all learning and using the tools of scientific research which can be applied to multiple carriers of science and technology for the benefit of our youth and our countries.