Teaching Astronomy through e-learning in Poland: Astronomical Education in teacher training conducted by the Regional Teacher Training Center in Skierniewice
Abstract:Regional Teacher Training Centre (RTTC) in Skierniewice is one of 49 public, accredited institutions in Poland carrying out it statutory goals at the regional level. It has been operating since 1989 and is responsible for organizing of support of schools, institutions, networks of teachers for cooperation and self-education, organizing various forms of in-service training and disseminating examples of good practice. It also has rich experience in teaching by using modern Interactive Computer Technology (ICT) tools and e-learning platform. I present examples about teaching of Astronomical issues through teacher training both as hands on workshops as well as through e-learning.
E-learning is playing an important role in organizing educational activities not only in the field of modern didactic but also in learning Science subjects. Teachers find e-learning as a very economical, easy and convenient way of learning and developing their knowledge and skills. Moreover, they are no longer afraid of using new ICT tools and programs which help them to cooperate with students effectively. Since 2011 RTTC in Skierniewice has been an organizer of many on-line in-service programs for teachers, in learning Science. Some of them are organized as blended-learning programs which allow teachers to participate first in hands on activities then continue learning on the Moodle platform. These courses include two 15 and 30-hours of Astronomical topics. Teachers have the opportunity to gain knowledge and receive materials not only about the Universe and the Solar System but also can learn to use tools like Stellarium, Celestia, WorldWide Telescope, Your Sky and other tools. E-learning modules consist of both publishing learning materials in various forms, eg. PowerPoint Presentations, Word & PDF materials, web sites, publications, working sheets as well as practical duties like participation in chats, forums, tasks, Wiki, group workshop.
Teachers use these materials for extending their knowledge as well as for preparing their own tasks, like lesson’s scenarios and school projects. Realizing school projects pay an important role in students’ education. It is obligatory for students representing lower secondary level to implement school project during their 3 years education. Some of these projects are devoted to Astronomy.