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ECU leads international conference on student research and education in astronomy

Friday, 09 June 2017

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This month, experts in leading authentic astronomy research and education with high school and undergraduate students are meeting in San Diego to attend the Edith Cowan University-led conference, Robotic Telescopes, Student Research and Education Conference.

More than sixty leading institutions from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Switzerland and Germany will be represented. Spearheaded by the School of Education's Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Dr Michael Fitzgerald, Delegates will meet to discuss how modern powerful automated telescopes situated on high mountains and in dry empty deserts can be freely and effectively accessed by teachers and students in the everyday classroom.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills and endeavours are a key driver of 21st century economic growth and innovation, but it is an area where the performance of Australia has been in decline (PISA and TIMMS). Remote telescopes cover all four of the STEM areas and are readily available and accessible to science students throughout the world. This is the first international meeting where key figures in this field will congregate and share their experiences in an endeavour to educate our youth for the future.

The impending construction of part of the Square Kilometre Array, partially in remote radio quiet Western Australia, is essentially the largest robotic telescope on Earth. The amount of data produced will be truly staggering and many of the data products will be accessible to students wishing to undertake research projects as part of their learning experience, as well as providing a context for authentic teacher research experiences as part of their professional learning.

Edith Cowan University’s School of Education, the largest such school in Western Australia, will play a central role in understanding and connecting this opportunity to our outstanding teachers to make a real difference to young peoples’ lives. This conference aims to facilitate a better understanding of how to engage, motivate, inspire and educate students worldwide through STEM projects both in astronomy and general science.

The event is a collaboration between Edith Cowan University, California Polytechnic State University, and Boyce Research Initiatives and Education Foundation. Through their respective endeavours, each institution seeks to forward the quality of STEM education worldwide using astronomy as a key content area.

For more information, please visit the RTSRE website, or, contact Edith Cowan Institute for Education Research (ECIER) Research Fellow, Dr Michael Fitzgerald via email or on 0431 480 007.

The full program of talks and events over the five days is accessible on the Program webpage, with the most up to date brochure available for download on the RTSRE homepage.

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