A Web site that aims to inspire young children by teaching them about the immensity of the universe and the wonder of the night sky has won the Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE).
“The Web site is intended to give a sense of perspective to everyone who uses it,” says Carolina Odman-Govender, who developed the site into a global resource reaching forty countries. “You can see the universe as a big place and a beautiful place in which you fit.”
Science magazine developed the Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) to promote the best online materials in science education. The acronym SPORE suggests a reproductive element adapted to develop, often in less-than-ideal conditions, into something new. In a similar way, these winning projects can be seen as the seeds of progress in science education, despite considerable challenges to educational innovation. Each month, Science publishes an article by a recipient of the award, which explains the winning project.
The Universe Awareness (UNAWE) Web site that Odman developed reaches out to children between the ages of four and ten, especially in underprivileged areas throughout all the regions of the world. Its resources come from an army of 400 volunteers all over the world.
Everything is checked for accuracy by qualified astronomers. Odman says one aspect of its importance is that astronomy allows the children to “see the world as it really is, without real borders between countries.”