An Online Learning Model for Teaching Astronomy to Gifted Students. Paper
Author(s): Stuart Kehoe, (Centre for Talented Youth Ireland, Ireland), Colm O'Reilly, (CTY Ireland, Ireland), Elizabeth Albert, (Centre for Talented Youth, Johns Hopkins University, USA), Jason St Pierre (Centre for Talented Youth, Johns Hopkins University, USA)
This paper is the product of an online collaboration between high school students from Ireland and America in the area of robotics based astronomy. Currently there is a large interest in the Mars rover missions and the use of robots to further maximize the scientific return from space-based astronomy missions. Astronomy is an excellent subject for high ability students due to the abstract nature of the subject and the higher order thinking skills involved in the discipline. This paper demonstrates how to develop an original astronomy project using simple online resources and easily available materials. It discusses the benefits of international collaboration in an increasingly global educational environment.
Online collaborative tools, notably asynchronous forums, have been shown to increase frequency of higher order discussions of particular topics. As part of a joint program the Centre for Talented Youth Ireland (CTYI) at Dublin City University and the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) at Johns Hopkins University have engaged in an international collaborative student project in Astronomy around the theme of Robotic Explorations of Space. Presented here is a model for international collaboration through the Moodle environment based on student experience and learning outcomes of the progamme.
Interested teachers and researchers will be provided with a forum to set up their own research projects in Astronomy or other scientific areas.