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Virginia DOE Taps Oracle Education Foundation for Astronomy Education

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The Oracle Education Foundation (OEF) has announced an upcoming partnership with the Virginia Department of Education to support that state's Share the Skies astronomy initiative through the use of Internet-based tools.

The program allows educators and students to study astronomy during the daylight hours using Internet-based tools. Participants will be able to control a telescope located in Australia via the Web. Educators will also use Oracle's Web-based ThinkQuest learning platform to design and implement astronomy projects for the classroom.

"ThinkQuest provides a platform that allows our students to collaborate with peers around the world, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, on research projects that leverage the capabilities of our Share the Skies initiative," said Tammy McGraw, director of educational technology, Virginia Department of Education, in a statement released recently.

"The Oracle Education Foundation is proud to partner with the Virginia Department of Education on this innovative project," said Clare Dolan, vice president, Oracle Corporate Citizenship, in a prepared statement. "By providing students with access to ThinkQuest, we empower them to broaden their horizons and develop the critical skills they need for life and work in the 21st century."

OEF will provide free professional development for up to 1,200 Virginia educators involved in Share the Skies. The training will focus on ways teachers can integrate the ThinkQuest platform into learning activities that teach "21st century skills" such as creativity, communication, teamwork, and technology skills.

According to Oracle, ThinkQuest is currently in use by 397,000 students in 60 countries.

About the Author

Chris Riedel is a freelance writer based in Illinois. He can be reached here.

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