The `Astronomy On-line' project:
in Switzerland |
en Suisse |
in der Schweiz |
in Svizzera |
in Svizra |
The largest astronomical event on the World Wide Web.
Austria - Belgium - Denmark - Finland - France - Germany - Greece - Ireland - Italy - Luxemburg - Netherlands - Norway - Portugal - Spain - Sweden - Switzerland - Great Britain
Stefano Sposetti (Swiss national representative)
prof: 091/825 98 92 priv: 091/829 12 48
Michael Reichen (editor of the "Newsletter")
prof: 022/361 24 37 priv: 021/616 75 82
The European Association for Astronomy Education (EAAE) was founded by a constitutional assembly of more than one hundred teachers and astronomers of 17 European countries, in November 1995.
In the context of the European Week for Scientific and Technological Culture, promoted by the European Union, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) organised in November 1994 in its Garching headquarters near Munich (D) a seminar open to high school teachers from all over Europe. Various work and reflection groups focused on the role of astronomy in secondary school teaching, and drew up a final declaration which summarises these reflections, and underlines the urgent need for a European association of teachers interested in astronomy. A temporary executive committee of six people was set up in order to prepare within one year the General Constitunional Assembly, which took place in Athens in November 1995. One of the major tasks of this committee was the editing of a periodical newsletter. The first newsletter was published in July 1995. In 1996 the EAAE took its real start with an information campaign in upper secondary schools, universities, amateur astronomy clubs as well as with a large project named : Astronomy On-line (AOL), presented in this document.
Astronomy as the oldest of all sciences is a typical example of pluridisciplinarity. Not only do its most recent developments use all the disciplines of Physics, but it also has direct links with chemistry, biology and the Earth sciences. The cultural and philosophical role of Astronomy is undisputed.
Studying the Universe is a means of searching for our own origins, learning to situate ourselves within cosmic infinity and developing a sense for the beauty and fragility of our Earth. It equally allows us to keep a critical approach towards irrational pseudo-sciences.
Furthermore, Astronomy is extremely popular. There is a great public interest for topics such as eclipses, meteor showers, astronauts, and for all the popular magazines and TV programs about astronomy. Several "test" projects within schools have shown that Astronomy is the perfect way to arouse the enthusiasm and interest of all pupils, who tend to be bored with more classical subject matters.
The aim of the EAAE is to develop and to promote the teaching of Astronomy in the broadest way possible: thanks to its pluri-disciplinary nature, Astronomy can blend in harmoniously with classical experimental sciences, philosophy, history, geography etc.
Therefore, by setting up an association of teachers at the European level, all members should be able to take advantage of experiences performed in other countries. Teachers and students will be encouraged to exchange and collaborate with groups abroad, and to make use of contacts with the world of professional astronomy, with which the EAAE already has solid links.
Initially a committee was in charge of preparing the official founding of the association (the constitutive assembly was held in Athens, end 1995) and of starting the publication of a regular newsletter.
In its current structure the EAAE is composed of an executive committee of nine people (president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, editor, and four ordinary members) who are responsable for the administrative tasks, the coordination of the various activities of the association, the cohesion of the association and the publication of the newsletter at regular intervals.
Furthermore each member country has a national representative who acts as a reference within his or her country. The national representatives are in direct contact with the the executive committee, and regular meetings are organised.
The various activities of the EAAE are shared among two permanent committees:
1. Financial Support
2. Communication Network
and seven work groups:
1. Astronomical concepts
2. Didactic materials
3. Training teachers
4. European Student Projects
5. Planetarium links
6. Research on Teaching Materials
7. Public education
Each member of the EAAE is free to participate actively within these groups on either an irregular basis or in a more continuous way. It is of course possible to participate in a more passive way by reading the newsletter and keeping informed on the Internet or elsewhere.
Any individual whose principal or side activity pertains to the teaching of astronomy in its most broadest sense, and who thereby approaches the aims of the EAAE is invited to become a member (see contact addresses above).
Newsletter No 1
Newsletter No 2 (November 1995)
Newsletter No 3 (July 1996)
E-mail address Michael Reichen, editor of the EAAE: Michael.Reichen@obs.unige.ch