16 February 2022

One Year of the AAS Astronomy Education Blog

Karen Masters Haverford College

The activities of the AAS Education Committee are guided by the recommendations in the 2016 Education Task Force Report. The first of the three high-priority recommendations was to develop “an active and vital Internet presence for AAS Education in the form of a curated, moderated blog with both formal and informal components for news and scholarship on educational practices and materials.” (The other two were the Education & Professional Development (EPD) Mini-Grant Program and the Graduate Education Task Force, both of which have been implemented.)

Despite the ongoing pandemic, the committee accomplished the goal of launching an AAS Education Blog with its first post to welcome readers in February 2021.

We have now hosted a year's worth of articles authored by members of our committee, EPD Mini-Grants awardees, and others involved in astronomy education. Topics include information about many of the projects funded to run workshops and other activities by EPD grants, updates on our work looking at upper-division undergraduate astronomy curriculum, remote telescopes, teaching astronomy online, the new IAU Astronomy Education Journal, how to get involved as part of our committee, and more.

A word cloud from the first year of AAS Education Blog posts. Credit: Karen Masters
A word cloud from the first year of AAS Education Blog posts. Credit: Karen Masters

Here is a summary of 22 posts (excluding those inviting EPD applications or expressions of interest in joining our committee) from our first year:

  1. "New from the IAU: Astronomy Education Journal" by Committee Members Janelle Bailey & Sanlyn Buxner (Astronomy Education Journal Editorial Board members)
  2. "Why (and How) Astronomers Should Teach Climate Change" by former committee member Travis Rector (University of Alaska, Anchorage)
  3. "The Stone Edge All-Sky Survey — Addressing Undergraduate Research Experiences During the Pandemic" by committee member Kate Meredith (GLAS Education)
  4. "The “Ecosystem” of Astronomy Education/Outreach Programs" by committee member Luisa Rebull (Caltech/IPAC)
  5. "Professional Development Through Access to Diverse Viewpoints: Creating a More Inclusive Career Panel" by EPD Grant awardee Daina Bouquin (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
  6. "EPO Programs Getting Data into the Hands of K-12 Teachers and Students" by committee member Luisa Rebull (Caltech/IPAC)
  7. "Using Sonification to Observe Solar Eclipses" by committee member Luisa Rebull (Caltech/IPAC)
  8. "What Do We Expect Undergraduate Astronomy Majors to Learn?" by committee members Kimberly Coble (San Francisco State University) and Janelle Bailey (Temple University), and guest author Colin Wallace (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
  9. "SDSS Resources for Infusing Astronomy Education with Computing and Big Data" by EPD Grant awardee Britt Lungren (University of North Carolina, Asheville)
  10. "Who Teaches the Teachers? Teaching Science Thought and Practices" by EPD Grant awardees K. E. Saavik Ford (CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College and AMNH) and Dennis M. Robbins (CUNY Hunter College and AMNH)
  11. "Teaching for Equity Workshops: A Research-Based Conversation Starter Pack" by EPD Grant awardee Jessica Fielder (San Francisco State University).
  12. "Online Immersive Technologies and Virtual Worlds for Astronomy Outreach" by EPD Grant awardees Alexander Kaurov (Institute for Advanced Study) and Alexander Stone-Martinez (New Mexico State University)
  13. "The AAS Ambassadors Program: Training Early-Career Astronomers for Effective Outreach" by Andrew Fraknoi (Fromm Inst./U of San Francisco)
  14. "The Undergraduate ALFALFA Team Model: Undergraduate Research within a Community of Practice" by committee member Mary Crone Odekon (Skidmore College)
  15. "SciAccess Online Conference" by committee member Kate Meredith (GLAS Education)
  16. "Astronomy: A Free, Online Astro 101 Textbook" by Andrew Fraknoi (Fromm Inst./U of San Francisco)
  17. "Shaw-IAU Workshop on Astronomy for Education" by committee member Kate Meredith (GLAS Education)
  18. "Number of Astronomy Majors at an All-Time High" by committee member Karen Masters (Haverford College)
  19. "Astrobites: Making Research Accessible Through Bite-Sized Summaries" by Briley Lewis (UCLA) and the Astrobites Collaboration who have had several EPD Mini-Grants to run workshops about the use of Astrobites in teaching
  20. "Astronomy in Popular Culture: Interdisciplinary Resources for Astro 101" by Andrew Fraknoi (Fromm Inst./U of San Francisco)
  21. "Building Community for Astronomers at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions" by EPD Grant awardee Joseph Ribaudo (Providence College)
  22. "The First Two Miles: Building Research-Ready Programming Skills in the Classroom" by Imad Pasha (Yale University)

We hope you have enjoyed the blog over the past year, or if you haven’t discovered it yet, will enjoy reading our archive and future posts.

At the request of a blog reader, we have set up this new mailing list, where you can sign up to be notified when new articles are posted. Or if you prefer, all articles are shared via the Education Committee’s Twitter account and as part of the biweekly AAS Digest that all members already get in their inboxes.

We invite members of the AAS Education community to submit your feedback on the education blog or to submit expressions of interest in writing for the blog.