Galileo Educator Network
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific and partner organizations are carrying out the "Galileo Educator Network" project, creating distributed and leveraged professional development nationwide with the primary goals to: (1) Help teacher educators and teacher professional development providers engage and educate teachers of astronomy (and general science), especially in grades 3-9, using effective instructional strategies and educational resources, with engaging and inspiring content; and (2) Promote the effective use of NASA-developed and NASA-supported resources by teacher educators and teacher professional development providers, through integration of astronomy/space science content with Galileo-inspired science inquiry and exploration
- Improve STEM Instruction
- Contribute to the conversation about building new models for leveraging SMD assets and expertise and achieving the most significant impact of STEM education investments.
- Build and use evidence-based approaches
Participants completed “retrospective pretests” in which they rated their knowledge before and after the workshop on a scale from 1 (none) to 5 (complete). Knowledge of the Earth, Moon and Sun systems and awareness of NASA resources tended to see the largest pre-post gains, with average increases of 0.90 (Standard Deviation = 0.54) and 1.14 (SD = 0.42) respectively.
In May 2012, evaluators distributed a follow-up survey for teachers who had participated in GEN PD workshops during the 2011-2012 school year. Teachers answered questions about what they remembered from the workshops, and what activities, resources or pedagogical strategies they had used in their classrooms that year. Seventeen teachers responded, representing 37% of eligible participants.
Based on their experiences in the GEN workshops, 88% of respondents taught a lesson on a specific astronomy concept, and nearly as many (76%) had taught lessons about the nature and practices of science. Almost two-thirds of respondents had used materials from Universe at Your Fingertips in their classrooms, while about one-third recalled using NASA educational resources. Moreover, slightly more than half of the respondents (59%) had shared activities and ideas they had learned from their GEN workshops with other teachers.