Development of Astronomy Educational Resources: the Case of Universe Awareness
In this thesis we will study astronomy as a means to spread science education. Moreover, we will illustrate how the popularisation of science, especially if introduced during childhood, plays an important role in improving the quality of life of the individual and the growth of the society in the long run, in particular for developing countries. Specically, we will discuss an international astronomy education and outreach programme: Universe Awareness - UNAWE. This programme, which has been approved by the International Astronomical Union, involves over 50 countries and has more than 800 collaborators, including astronomer educators and teachers. UNAWE deals with popularising astronomy and scientic thinking, through activities aimed at teachers and children aged 4 to 10, focusing especially on those from disadvantaged backgrounds. In this thesis we present the scientic basis that supports the UNAWE project, and examine the means and goals of the programme. We will in particular focus on the collection, production, review and distribution of high quality astronomy educational material. We will explain how UNAWE has chosen to use Open Educational Resources with the aim of reaching a broader audience, while increasing the quality of developed activities. Indeed, the scientic and pedagogical quality of UNAWE activities is guaranteed thanks to a peer-review process, in which both astronomer and educator are involved. In addition, we will discuss the new and unprecedented online UNAWE platform, which has been created to respond to problems related to the research of material on the web, and also to ensure the quality of this material while keeping it constantly updated. Finally, we contextualise the evaluation programme performed by UNAWE, which is of fundamental importance to assess the eectiveness of the proposed educational activities. We will conclude with some ideas for assessing the impact and the long-term importance of the UNAWE project.