October 21, 2011


Sergio Cabezon
Santiago, Chile
56 (2) 2109605 -- 56 (9) 7 7676197

NRAO, AUI Join Chilean Educational Project

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), joined the National Copper Corporation of Chile (CODELCO) and the Center for Educational Innovation (CIE) of the University of Antofagasta in a project to build a center for training teachers from throughout Chile in astronomy and science.

Left to Right:
Eduardo Hardy, AUI Representative and NRAO Assistant Director for Chile;
Carl Pennypacker, Hands On Universe, University of California, Berkeley;
Juan Carlos Avendano, General Manager, Codelco, Radomiro Tomic Chile.

NRAO and AUI will lead in teaching astronomy at the new center, and will represent the worldwide Galileo Teacher Training Program (GTTP) in Chile. The GTTP, a project created in the wake of the International Year of Astronomy in 2009, will focus on training teachers in astronomy and physics. NRAO and AUI joined with the University of California at Berkeley to design the curriculum for this project.

"NRAO and AUI want to bring to teachers throughout Chile the ability to use the numerous technological and scientific resources available to them to teach astronomy in a clearer and more entertaining manner," said Eduardo Hardy, AUI Representative and NRAO Assistant Director for Chile. "In a country where many of the most important observatories on Earth are advancing our understanding of the Universe, we want school children to have access to knowledge of this exciting science," Hardy added.

Hardy joined Juan Carlos Avendano Diaz, General Manager of CODELCO Radomiro Tomic; Juan Medel Fernandez, General Manager of CODELCO Ministro Hales; and Luis Alberto Loyola Morales, Chancellor of the University of Antofagasta in a ceremony in Calama, Chile, to sign the educational agreement on Friday.

The new teacher training center will be built in Calama. The astronomy taught there will fit into new curriculum guidelines that the Chilean Ministry of Education is beginning to implement at different grade levels. The aim is to strengthen the science curriculum in schools throughout the country.

The training will use a variety of tools, such as recent research images, software, virtual telescopes, web resources and hands-on exercises to enhance the effectiveness of astronomy instruction in the classroom. One GTTP project, called the global Hands-on-Universe, developed by UC Berkeley, encourages research among teachers and students and provides programmed contents.

The first activity under the new agreement will be held on CIE's campus in Antofagasta in January of 2012. This will be a training workshop for teachers from throughout Chile.

NRAO and its operating corporation AUI have decades of experience in cutting-edge scientific research, and are the North American executives for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), now under construction in Chile.. CONDELCO is committed to supporting initiatives aimed at improving education and community development. The CIE focuses on improving the techniques of education to make teaching more effective.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

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