Space Exploration Available to Classrooms Worldwide with New Online Telescope for Teachers
- By Kristal Kuykendall
Slooh, the award-winning provider of online, live telescope feeds to students, announced this week it is offering an affordable way for teachers to bring space exploration to all students with the Online Telescope for Teachers.
The Slooh platform gives users online access to its network of professional-grade telescopes, located in the Canary Islands and Chile. The online telescope solution earned Slooh a number of recent awards, including Educators Pick Best of STEM 2021 from the National Science Teaching Association, among others.
The Online Telescope solution can help teachers teach astronomy by allowing students to explore and analyze more than 1,000 real-world space objects and events, the company said in a news release.
Available for $199 per teacher/per year, along with a free seven-day trial, the Online Telescope for Teachers allows teachers to book time on a telescope for their classroom to view a specific space object or event, or teachers and their students can join other classrooms that have already reserved time to view an event. Teachers can then share the recorded event with students to foster group discussion and collaboration.
“Slooh’s innovation is that an unlimited number of teachers and students can share online telescopes in a manner that includes an exchange of ideas and opportunities to learn from each other,” said Slooh founder Michael Paolucci. “Just as kids learn to play video games by watching other people play, the sharing inherent in the platform enables students to learn from the amazing things other teachers and students do with our online telescopes.”
In addition to online telescope access, the new program for teachers provides integrated curriculum-based lesson plans for elementary through college-level students that can be used in classrooms, as well as professional development opportunities to help educators easily use the technology.
“Most schools have microscopes, yet do not have access to telescopes. We are changing that,” said Paolucci. “The Online Telescope for Teachers is a cost-effective and scalable solution that eliminates the geographic, financial, and technological barriers associated with space exploration in schools. Now, teachers across the world can help their students study space and view space phenomena in real-time just like professional astronomers, via computer interface to online telescopes.”
Slooh developed the platform with input from educators on its new teacher advisory board. One of those teachers, Christine Hirst Bernhardt, said teaching astronomy — even with in-person access to a telescope — can be challenging because observations are limited by schedules, weather, and proximity.
“When we shifted to remote learning, Slooh was the solution I had long sought after – it allowed my students to observe incredible and inspiring imagery on a far greater scale than they could while sharing an eyepiece in a parking lot,” said Bernhardt, the recipient of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s 2021 Thomas J. Brennan Award for excellence in teaching astronomy at the high school level. “The best part is students actively design the process and truly author their learning experience.”
She noted that the online access to Slooh’s powerful telescopes brings professional astronomy to any classroom in an unprecedented way.
“Slooh has allowed my astronomy classes to finally catch up to the field of professional astronomy,” she said. “I am so grateful to have found Slooh, and cannot imagine ever teaching astronomy without it. It has truly transformed my courses and empowered my students with invaluable skills.”
In addition to the Online Telescope for Teachers, Slooh also recently launched The Slooh Space Exploration Grant through its nonprofit, Slooh.org. The grant provides an equitable opportunity for up to 1 million students from Title I schools across the United States to experience the wonders of space. Slooh is funded in part by a National Science Foundation grant.
To learn more about the Online Telescope for Teachers or sign up for a free seven-day trial, visit www.OnlineTelescope.com.
Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can
be reached at [email protected].