People may have wondered why educators don't do some of the stuff you see on these pages, since even a "lowly" amateur like me can seemingly do some amazing things. But the reality is that there will always be a disconnect between education and industry, since seldom do the twain meet.
A teacher can own a big telescope, but that doesn't mean they can use it. This truth is why many of the efforts by amateurs to get "modern astronomy" into K-12 education has failed. It's not that teachers lack tools, but rather the knowledge and curriculum-basis to utilize the tools.
Beginning in 2014, beginning a desire that began more than a decade prior, Scott and I began outlining a program for our district, Mansfield Independent School District (Texas), to solve this problem. Because we are already employees as teachers within the district, and because of our extensive experience and industry connections, we have managed to sell our district on buildling an innovative new astronomy campus and mobile lab solution.
As it stands, our proposal for a 24-acre campus featuring an array of astronomy tools is causing our district leadership to scramble for ways to finance these efforts. Featuring robotic observatories and outdoor learning labs, the real heart-beat of the program will be an embedded curriculum that will bridge the gap between the lack of teach knowledge in these subjects and provide an inquiry-based solution for kids in our classrooms, from kindergarten to 12th grade. Over 34,000 students within our district would begin a path toward learning astronomy in the way that actual astronomers know to be possible...by letting students connect to the tools DAILY.
We have coined our efforts the MISD Center for Astronomical Studies Initiative, with a full, almost-ready-for-prime-time website that can be seen <<<here>>>.
Any encouragement and non-financial support you can give for our project is greatly appreciated.
In the meantime, my apologies for disappearing for two and a half years!