About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5063-5070
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain

ASTRONOMY EDUCATION FOR THE PUBLIC VIA WEB TECHNOLOGIES. FROM THE E-LIBRARY, THROUGH THE E-CLASSROOM, TOWARDS THE E-FACILITATOR

P. Antoniou1, E. Delidou1, E. Kaldoudi2

1Thrace Amateur Astronomy Club (GREECE)
2Democritus University of Thrace (GREECE)
Astronomy, through both the allure of the sky and popular culture, enjoys significant penetration into the public and especially the young. Furthermore, the interdisciplinary character of the field makes it an ideal avenue for teaching basic scientific principles in a context that is both relevant to the subject and interesting to the learners.

Nevertheless, communicating astronomy to the public presents certain significant challenges: (a) highly specialized scientific knowledge needs to be disseminated to an audience of a disperse scientific background, often without extended and/or uniform scientific education and skills; (b) the audience is widely dispersed in age, preferences and goals regarding their pursuit of astronomy knowledge; and (c) the audience, consisting mostly of volunteer adults, has a diverse daily time-schedule while scattered over a region considerably larger than a university campus. Most importantly, considering the amateur, sideline nature of public astronomy education, the whole educational procedure needs to be a leisure activity rather than formal learning.

Advances in the understanding of learning processes suggest that the conventional lecture-based paradigm may be suboptimal to address those requirements. Thus current approaches focus on adult education and situational learning and are active, self-directed and experiential, with a readjustment from process to product. The emerging view is of learning as an active, constructive, social, and self-reflective process with the aim to develop problem-processing skills, self-directed learning skills and group competence. Thus in contemporary physical science and astronomy education, educational programs increasingly include problem-based learning and other small group instructional models, collaborative organizations to support student-faculty interactions, and technology-enhanced educational tools.
From their inception, information technology and the internet have been widely used to support educational processes. Initially, through the world wide web, electronic repositories assisted in learning, albeit no further than a well stocked library. Nevertheless web 2.0 technologies have succeeded an immense impact in information dissemination. The use of wikis blogs forums and other collaborative authorware managed to almost entirely re-create the process of problem-based learning on the internet.

This paper seeks to propose new ways of engaging emerging Web technologies to support self-directed, experiential astronomy education for the public. While the collaborative e-classroom is a reality even for the educational activities at a regional Amateur Astronomy Club, prospects exist for a more radical paradigm shift. The Semantic Web, with natural language search, recommendation agents and other emerging artificial intelligence tools emphasize machine facilitated understanding of the available information, further streamlining the role of the collaborating facilitator in a problem based learning scenario. Furthermore microformats, modular applications and ubiquitous connectivity for the first time provide a platform that can really claim to offer a fully realized learning experience, available anytime, everywhere.
@InProceedings{ANTONIOU2009AST,
author = {Antoniou, P. and Delidou, E. and Kaldoudi, E.},
title = {ASTRONOMY EDUCATION FOR THE PUBLIC VIA WEB TECHNOLOGIES. FROM THE E-LIBRARY, THROUGH THE E-CLASSROOM, TOWARDS THE E-FACILITATOR},
series = {3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-612-7578-6},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {9-11 March, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {5063-5070}}
TY - CONF
AU - P. Antoniou AU - E. Delidou AU - E. Kaldoudi
TI - ASTRONOMY EDUCATION FOR THE PUBLIC VIA WEB TECHNOLOGIES. FROM THE E-LIBRARY, THROUGH THE E-CLASSROOM, TOWARDS THE E-FACILITATOR
SN - 978-84-612-7578-6/2340-1079
PY - 2009
Y1 - 9-11 March, 2009
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2009 Proceedings
SP - 5063
EP - 5070
ER -
P. Antoniou, E. Delidou, E. Kaldoudi (2009) ASTRONOMY EDUCATION FOR THE PUBLIC VIA WEB TECHNOLOGIES. FROM THE E-LIBRARY, THROUGH THE E-CLASSROOM, TOWARDS THE E-FACILITATOR, INTED2009 Proceedings, pp. 5063-5070.
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