Letters of Intent received in 2017

LoI 2019-2009
Astronomy Education: Bridging Research & Practice

Date: 24 June 2019 to 28 June 2019
Location: Chile, Chile
Contact: Paulo Bretones (bretones@ufscar.br)
Coordinating division: Division C Education, Outreach and Heritage
Co-Chairs of SOC: Paulo Bretones (Universidade Federal de São Carlos)
Pedro Russo (Leiden University)
Co-Chairs of LOC: Leonor Opazo (Cerro Tololo International Observatory.)
Erika Labbe (Universidad Diego Portales)
Valentina Rodriguez (Giant Magellan Telescope)
Sergio Cabezon (AUI/NRAO)
Thilina Heenatigala (NUCLIO/Leiden University)



Research & practice in Astronomy Education
New trends in Astronomy Education: From blend learning to MOOCs
Astronomy Education for responsible citizenship
Training approaches: Teachers & educators
State-of-the-art of astronomy education research
Innovations in research methodologies and instrumentation, including in museums and planetaria
Analyses of good practices, programmes and resources
Curriculum development, literacy, standards and policy
Use of experiments and results by teachers and educators
The value and role of astronomy education in other disciplines
Impact research on leveraging new media and information system for teaching and learning
Inclusion, diversity, equity, and empathy in Astronomy Education
Astrotourism & Education: the power of astronomy education for economic development
Connecting traditional astronomical practices to astronomy curriculum
Effect of social beliefs in learning of Astronomy
Designing and implementing training programmes for pre-service and in-service teachers.
Teaching and learning challenges in astronomy from a social semiotic perspective
Virtual and augmented reality in teaching and learning astronomy
Use of planetaria in astronomy education
Astronomy Education in Big Data and Cloud Computing era (or Data-driven astronomy education and curriculum development)
Open Education, Open Schooling and Astronomy Education
Astronomy, Culture and of Astronomy Teaching/Education



Astronomy is an important field in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics (STEAM) education. It combines all aspects of the STEAM acronym with global accessibility and popularity amongst students and the public alike. The field of astronomy education research (AER) has grown significantly, with an increasing number of research articles having been published. We, astronomy education researchers and practitioners around the world, propose the 1st IAU Symposium on Astronomy Education: Bridging Research & Practice, with an aim to increasing the the quality, quantity and impact of astronomy education research and practice.

Learning in astronomy education has been changing dramatically in the last decade, mainly in the form of a broadening of the available tools and approaches. Massive Open Online Courses (e.g: Coursera), Blended learning (e.g.: Khan Academy), Virtual learning environments (e.g.: Virtual Reality) and their likes are proliferating into formal and informal education. There has also been a notable shift in the profile of education facilitators: from a select group of classroom teachers to the new curators of learning experiences that can be found on-line. Every area of astronomy education — from teacher training, to technology provision, to curriculum and resources development — often work locally on tackling similar issues of, for instance, lack of astronomy in the formal education curriculum, how how to demonstrate complex and abstract concepts to students or the difficulties of pre- and in-service teacher training. Often potential answers to those issues have been worked out by different people in different countries at different times, all speaking a different language and with different cultures. In other words, astronomy education initiatives tend to be highly fragmented and poorly distributed. Although many such initiatives exist at a local level, which has the benefit of addressing language issues and cultural boundaries, they are limited when considered for wider dissemination.

At the same time, AER has been focussing on understanding how astronomy can best be taught and learnt in formal school and university level and in informal settings, such as planetaria and museums. AER is grounded in the disciplines of both education and astronomy research, with a particular focus on the teaching and learning of astronomy, while at the same time supporting educators in their efforts to enhance their teaching practice. New research results and methodologies, ranging from hard cognitive science to qualitative education research domains, now influence the work of astronomy educators, enabling them to make research-informed innovations in the teaching of astronomy.

This first astronomy education IAU symposium will bring together astronomers, astronomy education researchers and education practitioners to communicate, discuss and tackle common issues. The Symposium will be an opportunity for the community to discuss the results in astronomy education of the IAU Strategic Plan 2010-2020 and provide inputs for the next IAU Strategic Plan regarding astronomy education. The symposium will also mark the celebrations of 100 Years of the IAU and 10 Years since the International Year of Astronomy 2009. The Symposium will also be an opportunity to consolidate the Chilean and South American Astronomy education communities. The Chilean Community, along with international partners, has recently completed a “roadmap” document, Reaching for the Stars: Findings of the Chile-US Astronomy Education and Outreach Summit, that will help steering astronomy education efforts in Chile.

Paulo Bretones, Universidade Federal São Carlos, Brazil (M)
Pedro Russo, Leiden University, the Netherlands (M)
Anthony Lelliott (South Africa) University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (M)
Stephen Pompea (National Optical Astronomy Observatory, USA) (M)
Julia Plummer (Pennsylvania State University, USA) (F)
Mark Subbarao (IPS / Adler Planetarium) (M)
Rosa Doran - (NUCLIO - Núcleo Interactivo de Astronomia, Portugal ) (F)
Nicoletta Lanciano (Italy) Università di Roma "La Sapienza" (F)
Urban Eriksson - (Lund University, Kristianstad University, Sweden) (M)
Ángela Patricia Pérez Henao (Parque Explora, Colombia) (F)
Néstor Camino (Complejo Plaza del Cielo – CONICET-FHCS UNPSJB, Argentina) (M)
Akihiko Tomita (Wakayama University, Japan) (M)
Aniket Sule (Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai, India) (M)
Edward Gomez, LCO, Director of Education (UK)
Michael Fitzgerald, (Edith Cowan University, Australia) (M)
Chen-Zhou CUI - (NAOC, China / IVOA) (M)
Tim Spuck, AUI STEM Education Development Officer (M)
Amelia Ortiz-Gil, University of Valencia, Spain (F)
Jaya Ramchandani (the Story of Foundation, India) (F)

Leonor Opazo , Cerro Tololo International Observatory.
Erika Labbe , Universidad Diego Portales.
Valeria Foncea ALMA, Chile
Valentina Rodriguez Outreach Coordinator in Chile for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMTO).
Sergio Cabezon, AUI/NRAO EPO Officer in Chile.
Thilina Heenatigala, Nuclio/Leiden University.