ESERO Norway - Inspiring students for space
ESERO Norway aims to inspire students to choose subjects important for space, such as the natural sciences, mathematics and technology. The office opened on the 21st of April, with Norwegian minister of transport and communications, Liv Signe Navarsete, as guest of honour.
ESA needs recruits and graduates with a solid background in the academic disciplines that are used in space. It is therefore important to inspire students at lower levels of education to study space and space related subjects.
So far the academic disciplines most important for space activities and space research have been the natural sciences, in particular physics, mathematics and technology.
In the future when humans may remain for prolonged periods in space, fields such as medicine, psychology and biology may become very significant for space activities.
Space science and space activities represent a concrete and clear use of a wide range of academic disciplines. Thus, space and space related activities may be used for teaching these subjects.
Official opening in Norway
ESA has opened national education offices in several of its member states, including Belgium, Great Britain, Spain and the Netherlands.
The newest addition to these offices is ESERO Norway (European Space Education Resource Office). The new office is located at Andøya in Nordland in Northern Norway.
ESERO Norway was officially opened on Tuesday the 21st of April 2009. The Norwegian minister of transport and communications, Liv Signe Navarsete, was the guest of honour.
In her inauguration speech, the minister emphasized the importance of education and innovation in science and technology for the development of our modern society as a whole.
She was also pleased that the new ESA office for education was located at Andøya, since space activities are important for Norway and in particular, its high north areas.
A door way to the natural sciences
Peter Hulsroj, ESA Director of Legal Affairs and External Relations, was also present at the opening.
In his inaugural speech, Hulsroj hoped the Norwegian ESERO office would be a door way to the natural sciences by showing that space is an exciting area of research with numerous aspects that are still unknown to us.
Terje Wahl, Deputy Director General of the Norwegian Space Centre, held an inspiring presentation of space and its many captivating mysteries. The mayor of Andøya municipality, Tore Pettersen, was also among the speakers at the opening.
About 80 students from the Andøya schools were invited to the opening of ESERO Norway. The students had the opportunity to try out various space related experiments and lessons. These included a telescope and a portable mini planetarium.
"In order to inspire students about space and the academic subjects important for space, we need to inspire the teachers that are teaching these subjects" says Tommy Voie, manager of ESERO Norway.
Therefore, ESERO Norway will primarily focus on teachers and on educating teachers, in particular teachers in the lower secondary schools.
"We wish to aim at the teachers in the lower secondary schools in order to catch the students at an early stage before they leave the natural sciences" Voie says.
Students at primary education levels have a great interest in space and the natural sciences. But as they continue to the secondary education, they start choosing other academic subjects instead.
Thus, it is important to catch the students early in their secondary education and inspire them to stay with the natural sciences.
Included in day to day teaching
ESERO Norway will offer two different courses aimed at teachers working with lower secondary education. The courses are organized in cooperation with Høgskolen i Bodø and are eligible for Norwegian higher education course points.
The courses can also be used in each teacher’s day to day teaching in the class room, as the course work fulfils the official requirements for both the natural sciences and the political sciences in the Norwegian lower level secondary education.
"Hence the time spent in our courses will be useful for the teachers even in their day to day teaching at their own schools" says Voie.
The course work will take place both on the internet and in the field. Participants of the courses will be able to meet up in several of Norway’s largest cities for field study.
To read more about ESERO Norway’s courses, click here.
25 000 students per year
"We hope that ESERO’s courses will encourage teachers to use space as an inspiring and educational tool for teaching" says Daniela Zajoncz, ESERO administrator at the ESA Education Office.
ESERO Norway’s courses will reach approximately 500 teachers. This represents cirka 15 percent of science teachers in the lower secondary schools in Norway.
"After educating the teachers, ESERO will reach at least 25 000 pupils every year in the lower secondary schools" says Zajoncz.
ESERO Norway is supported by the Norwegian National Center for Space Related Education (Nasjonalt senter for romrelatert opplæring, NAROM), the Norwegian Space Centre (Norsk Romsenter) and Andøya Rocket Range (Andøya Rakettskytefelt.