Officials with NASA and SIU-Carbondale are teaming up to offer webinars to area educators about the upcoming total solar eclipse.
The first webinar, a live, hour-long interactive program Wednesday will offer eclipse details and an overview of the two additional webinars scheduled for next week.
Harvey Henson is interim director of SIU's STEM Education Research Center. He says the webinars are perfect for NASA and SIU to pass along their expertise in teacher professional development.
"We're wanting to provide, with NASA, resources, information, opportunity for local educators to learn more about the eclipse and prepare to educate regarding the eclipse event."
Henson says webinar participants can log in individually, but he encourages schools and other organizations to gather in viewing groups.
"They'll want to be in groups where they can interact with each other and go to the next level, which will be create curriculum or activities or community events, whatever they want to do with the information and resources."
Henson says he is getting a lot of interest from educators of all types.
"It's an all-play. It's not just science. You have the arts. You have mathematics. You have all kinds of creative, expressive types of opportunity to learn about this event."
Henson says the August 21st date of the eclipse is challenging for educators because it's at the very beginning of the school year. That's why he says SIU is looking to build a long term professional development partnership with educators for the long term.
"We repeat this event on April 8, 2024. So, we have six years to kind of experiment and design and create curriculum that can be effective. You know, backyard science."
Henson says, in theory, educators in the area should be better prepared for the 2024 event.
The first of three webinars will take place Wednesday, April 19 from 4-5 p.m. Two more will take place next week for specific groups of educators. For more information, visit http://eclipse.siu.edu/educators/eclipse-educator-webinar-series/