Edward Gomez, Education Director, Las Cumbres Observatory
Global Sky Partners
HundrED has selected this innovation to
Why did you create this innovation?
In 2017 we created the Global Sky Partner programme, with the goal of matching our professional level telescopes with high-quality educational programmes. The key driver is to make these resources available to groups and individuals who would not normally have these kinds of opportunities. Together this partnership has had a far greater reach than we could have alone.
How does your innovation work in practice?
Our Global Sky Partners run programs using robotic telescopes for long-term studies of asteroids, teacher training, student mentoring programmes, inspirational space outreach events, in-depth investigations for journal publication, training for the next generation of scientists in the developing world, and citizen science.
Each year we host a competition for educational projects using the Las Cumbres Observatory global network of robotic telescopes. The programmes with the best educational goals, support, and are most inclusive to diverse audiences are selected.
Each partner develops a program for a specific target audience, with educational and technical support built in, using LCO's robotic telescopes to leverage their own talents and resources. As we add more Global Sky Partners, the user community grows but so does the support community. We support the partners and the partners support their users.
How has it been spreading?
During 2020 we supported 20,000 individuals directly and a further 20,000 indirectly:
1,500 direct and 20,000 indirect - Mentoring, workshops and training programs
1,800 direct - Self-directed learning and investigations
17,000 - Citizen Science
From partners offering mentoring, workshops and training programs, with a total audience size of ~1500 individuals, the audience demographics are:
40% of the audience are from disadvantaged or under-represented communities, or developing world countries.
13% of the audience are mentored in publication quality research projects, resulting in 18 publications in professional journals with 9 more papers in preparation, and 7 talks at professional conferences by high-school students.
53% of the audience take part in workshops and teacher training.
If I want to try it, what should I do?
Our partners run a diverse range of projects, either in-person or online. Some partner programmes are open to specific groups (e.g. geographical location) but many are completely open. Look at our partner programmes and choose one which matches your interests.
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