Astronomy Education Research: Impact and Future Directions
The goal of this talk is to reflect about the achievements and challenges in Astronomy Education Research (AER). First, the answers given to questions asked of members of the IAU Division C’s Commission 1 and Working Group on Theory and Methods in Astronomy Education are discussed. Next, the goals of astronomy teaching are discussed considering content, methods, levels, resources and purposes. Given the demands and complexity of education today and the role of astronomy in this context, the potential of education research is also evaluated, taking into account knowledge, practices, policies and the training of teachers. Finally, graduate studies are encouraged, new lines of research, and surveys to identify and advertise the dispersed AE literature seeking to raise the visibility of authors and institutions are suggested. Much of the work already performed remains unknown to astronomers, because they belong to a different area of theoretical and methodological framework, and because it occurs in specific different contexts of production, culture, curriculum, materials and application. Moreover, advertising AER in universities and schools to professors and teachers should consolidate this community and establish links between astronomers and educators in general, allowing future collaborations.