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The Online Telescope at Slooh: Astronomy Education for All Students

Presentation #242.03 in the session Education Programs, Resources, and Research ­— iPoster Session.

Published onJun 29, 2022
The Online Telescope at Slooh: Astronomy Education for All Students

The Online Telescope at Slooh is a gamified astronomy platform that brings the Universe and its Stars into the classroom through a network of robotic telescopes that broadcast nightly. Students, especially those in K–12, are cut off from the night sky and the rest of the cosmos due to many factors, e.g., light pollution, difficulty with set-up telescopes. At the same time, low-income students have less access to STEM learning than their higher-income peers, leading to significant racial and socioeconomic disparities in STEM fields. The Online Telescope at Slooh and the Slooh Foundation fill that gap by giving students direct access to space under some of the world’s darkest and most pristine skies.

Slooh’s mission is to rebuild our collective connection to the night sky by providing everyone with the power to control ten professional-grade telescopes at premier observatory sites in both hemispheres. Before Slooh, only science educators with a passion for astronomy could bring space into the classroom—now, any educator can do it! The Slooh Foundation is the only nonprofit organization providing an interface for schools and after-school programs where students control telescopes to explore space.

The platform offers step-by-step asynchronous, experiential learning programs called Quests that engage students of all education levels. Students embark on Quests to learn about astronomical concepts and the celestial objects captured in the telescopes. Quests cover important STEM and social science topics—mathematics, technology, history, and more—developing their scientific thinking skills. These skills prepare students for jobs in the growing space industry and STEM fields.

While on Quests, students create personalized infographics that showcase their captured images and remind them of what they’ve learned. Learning is assessed in various ways, e.g., short answer questions, analysis of their captured images, solving math problems. Every classroom has a private Workspace for student engagement and interaction—these spaces foster collaboration similar to that in the scientific community. Educators have Workspace tools to aggregate student responses and assess their progress. Educators can also assign a curated learning progression of Quests to fit their curricular needs or design their own. Free Professional Development webinars are available for new educators run by educators who have used the platform for student success for years.

The Online Telescope at Slooh uses astronomy to engage students and prepare them for their future careers while fostering a spirit of collaborative citizen science.

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