Founder of Kargahe Setare, Children's astronomy educator, Member of Zaferanieh Observatory
All Sessions by Shahrzad Mirsoltani
Day 1 - Wed 10th May
Bringing the Universe to Every Classroom: The Impact of Digital Technologies on Children's Astronomy Education in Iran
14:30 - 14:45
Astronomy education can be a crucial part of Iranian children's education and has the potential to inspire a lifelong passion for science and technology. However, it has been neglected in children's educational systems, particularly among the socioeconomically disadvantaged population. Efforts have been made in the past to improve astronomy education for children in Iran. Still, they were unsuccessful in underprivileged communities due to a lack of facilities and support. In recent years, the internet and digital tools have greatly helped reach a much wider audience and deliver educational content to children who would otherwise have limited access. Kargahe Setare online project was launched in Iran with the goal of using astronomy to inspire a new generation of scientifically literate and curious citizens, regardless of their financial and locative situation. We will explain how we reached out to more than 10000 Iranian children from the big cities to the most deprived villages to promote astronomy. We will discuss how we revised our teaching methods to bring STEM and STEAM activities to the class through online tools and common household objects as educational props. We will show how not only the Covid-19 pandemic did not negatively affect us but how it significantly accelerated the process of gaining public trust in online education. Also, we will discuss how we created a bridge between children, researchers, and the most-known organizations in this field. By sharing our experiences, we aim to demonstrate the potential and outcomes of online education in promoting astronomy and children's development.