IAU Symposia

IAUS 326: CANCELLED: Research in Astronomy Education: Far Reaching Impacts and Future Directions

Start date/time

October 4, 2016

End date/time

October 7, 2016




Paulo Bretones

Coordinating Division

Division C Education, Outreach and Heritage


Co-Chairs of SOC: Paulo S. Bretones (Universidade Federal de São Carlos)
Timothy F. Slater (University of Wyoming)
Chair of LOC: Cecilia Scorza (Heidelberg University)



• State-of-the-art of astronomy education research in countries/continents on papers/dissertations/meetings
• Meta-analysis of astronomy education research on contents/school grade levels/focus on education cross studies
• Astronomy misconceptions across the globe
• Use of AER experiments and results by teachers and museum educators
• Innovations in research methodologies and instrumentation
• Measuring museum and planetarium learning
• Research into the value and influence of astronomy education in other disciplines
• Interplay of students’ worldviews with the worldview of science in a globalizing world
• Impact research on leveraging new media and information systems for teaching and learning
• Overview of astronomy education research: what has been done, what should be done over the next decade ?




Astronomy education research has become a respected subdiscipline of astronomy. Scientific results from this field have great potential to enhance the teaching and learning of astronomy for learners of many ages. New results and research methodologies from the cognition and learning sciences domains are now able to influence the work of astronomy educators, enabling them to make informed innovations for the teaching of astronomy. Generally, professional astronomers who have responsibilities that include teaching are not aware of the results of astronomy education research, and this Symposium can help expand attendee's awareness of results, as well as providing a forum for active experts in astronomy education to jointly plan the research agenda for the upcoming decade. Thus, the central objective of the meeting is aiming at an increase of the quality and impact of astronomy education.
We underline that the domain of Research in astronomy education has very seldom been a subject tackled in the IAU Colloquia and meetings.
The domain studied up-today concerned only the teaching methods.
At the GA in Brazil, Paulo Bretones showed (and afterwards published a complete paper) the clear lack of research in the educational field based on an analysis on proceedings of IAU Meetings on Astronomy Education. 
The results, based on the analysis of 283 papers dealing with astronomy education 
demonstrated that IAU meetings have been characterized more by reports about practical education matters and exchange of experiences, and not by scientific research in the field of education itself.
The subject of this Symposium is new, and a response to a clear lack in the IAU community activities, as well as our answer to a need to support with serious research the numerous educational activities that emerged since the IYA2009 and before.
This Symposium will also contribute for the establishment of the Working Group on Astronomy education research.
We are aware that research in astronomy education exits outside the astronomical community, Jayashree Ramadas being one of these researchers. One of the purposes for the creation of this Working Group on Astronomy education research is to establish links with these colleagues.

Purpose and Goals: 
The primary goal of this Symposium is to bring together astronomy education experts to plot a ‘next steps’ roadmap and a global astronomy education research agenda for the next 10 years, while honoring the research results from the past. This Symposium will feature key speakers who are international leaders in discipline-based education research in astronomy and the planetary science via Invited Talks. Contributed Talks are solicited from astronomers and other researchers who have conducted astronomy education research studies, with a particular emphasis on how developing an understanding of the underlying mental mechanisms learners use when engaging in astronomy with respect to how this influences teaching innovation. This Symposium will be especially valuable to those astronomers who are actively involved in teaching, education, and outreach, but are not able to conduct fundamental astronomy education research themselves.


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