Slooh, the only organization offering live online telescope feeds to students, is now offering an affordable way for teachers to bring the power of its network of online telescopes to all students with The Online Telescope for Teachers. This solution can change how teachers teach astronomy by providing opportunities for students to explore and analyze more than 1,000 real-world space objects and events.
“Slooh’s innovation is that an unlimited number of teachers and students can share online telescopes in a manner that includes an exchange of ideas and opportunities to learn from each other,” said Michael Paolucci, founder of Slooh. “Just as kids learn to play video games by watching other people play, the sharing inherent in the platform enables students to learn from the amazing things other teachers and students do with our online telescopes.”
In addition to online telescope access, this new solution provides elementary through college-level teachers integrated curriculum-based lesson plans that can be used with students and ongoing professional development to help educators easily use the technology.
“Most schools have microscopes, yet do not have access to telescopes. We are changing that,” continued Paolucci. “The Online Telescope for Teachers is a cost-effective and scalable solution that eliminates the geographic, financial, and technological barriers associated with space exploration in schools. Now, teachers across the world can help their students study space and view space phenomena in real-time just like professional astronomers, via computer interface to online telescopes.”
Available for $199 per teacher/per year, along with a free seven-day trial, The Online Telescope for Teachers gives teachers and students control of a network of professional-grade online telescopes located in the Canary Islands and Chile. They can book time on a telescope to view a specific space object or event or join other classrooms that have already reserved time to view an event. Teachers can then share the recorded event with students to foster group discussion and collaboration.
“I have been teaching astronomy at the high school and college level for 13 years. While I love the observational aspect, it can be very limited by schedules, weather, and proximity,” said Christine Hirst Bernhardt, Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s 2021 Thomas J. Brennan Award recipient for excellence in teaching astronomy at the high school level, as well as the head of Slooh’s newly-created teacher advisory board. “When we shifted to remote learning, Slooh was the solution I had long sought after – it allowed my students to observe incredible and inspiring imagery on a far greater scale than they could while sharing an eyepiece in a parking lot. The best part is students actively design the process and truly author their learning experience.”
The power of Slooh’s telescopes brings professional astronomy to classrooms in any learning environment in an unprecedented way. “Slooh has allowed my astronomy classes to finally catch up to the field of professional astronomy,” added Hirst Bernhardt. “I am so grateful to have found Slooh, and cannot imagine ever teaching astronomy without it. It has truly transformed my courses and empowered my students with invaluable skills.”
Slooh’s product was recently named a finalist in the 2022 Bett Awards, as well as a winner of the Educators Pick Best of STEMTM 2021 awards by Catapult X, the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA), and MCH Strategic Data. Slooh was also named an “Elite 200” startup by the 2022 ASU-GSV Summit.
“Only the wealthiest schools, and only those that happen to be situated away from light pollution, have observatories for their students. Slooh is making access to observatories equitable in education, which levels the playing field for future vocational opportunities in the growing space industry.” said Paolucci.
In addition to The Online Telescope for Teachers, Slooh also recently launched The Slooh Space Exploration Grant through its non-profit Slooh.org. The grant provides an equitable opportunity for up to one million students from Title I schools across the United States to experience the wonders of space.