Speaker: Robert Hill,
Northern Ireland Space Office, Armagh Planetarium
Title: Astronomy Software for Schools Workshop
Robert Hill is the Director of the Northern Ireland Space Office, based at the Armagh Planetarium. He has spearheaded the campaign to bring astronomy and space science topics to teachers and pupils through the newly revised curriculum in the province. He is currently co-ordinating the creation of thematic units with regional government and the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment to align the latest astronomy and space related resources to accredited and integrated education.
In his previous post as Business Manager and Science Communicator for Armagh Planetarium, he designed and created the acclaimed ‘From Earth to the Heavens’ exhibition and has worked with several other science centres to help in the realisation of exciting and stimulating European space related exhibitions. During this period he also became the Faulkes Robotic Telescope Project schools co-ordinator in Ireland and helped bring this resource (in collaboration with the British Council) to several other regions including Portugal and Russia. He founded the Astrogazers Ireland Astronomy schools network, working with teachers to gain confidence in using astronomy resources for the classroom.
Robert is a member of many European and Global wide working groups and panels including author of Astronet Panel E ‘Education, Outreach and Recruitment’ elements ‘Relationships with industry’ and ‘Planetaria and Museums’. He was also part of the team evaluating the European Southern Observatory public outreach and educational material. He is a member of the International Astronomical Union Executive Committee Working Group for International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA09) and the Irish Secretariat for IYA09. He was a member of the UNESCO Space Education Team travelling to Tanzania and Nigeria.
Robert is also currently an educational consultant with the UK Yorkshire based Space Connections group, and part of the original UK team tasked with the possibility of creating a European Space Education Resource Office structure in Northern Ireland and throughout the UK.
His present duties include liaison with the local government in Northern Ireland to explore the possibility of using astronomy and space science as a key skills developer for adults returning to education and project management and coordination of the Yorkshire Planetarium refurbishment. He is committed to encouraging regional industry and business to recognise the potential offered by engagement with the space industry through the global space agencies, either as partners involved in development of resources, or training to create a human resource capability able to compete effectively in the global markets to the highest specifications and technology.