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Cornell Lab of Ornithology

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Martin Storksdieck

Institute for Learning Innovations


I am a Senior Associate at the Institute for Learning Innovation, where I study what and how we learn when we do so voluntarily; what the roles of volunteerism, serious leisure, and citizen science are in a lifelong learning society; and how school and out-of-school learning can be mutually enhancing. I am conducting research and evaluation studies in collaboration with organizations such as the US Botanic Garden, the New York Hall of Science or the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. My Ph.D. is in Education, and I hold a Masters in Public Administration and a Masters in Science.   


Amateur astronomers as volunteer free-choice educators

The case study can explore the educational potential of club-affiliated amateur astronomers to engage the public in informal astronomy experiences. Some 20% of amateur astronomers share their passion through public outreach. The Institute for Learning Innovation and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific will provide insights into the culture and educational potential of amateur astronomers as volunteer free-choice educators, and thus test one of the tenets of proponents of free-choice, lifelong learning outlined by Falk & Dierking (2002), namely that everybody is not just a lifelong learner, but holds the potential to be a lifelong educator. We will share the results of ongoing research on amateur astronomers who are members of the NASA sponsored Night Sky Network and discuss an upcoming NSF-sponsored research projects on amateur astronomy and 'serious leisre'.

Citizen science, volunteer monitoring, participatory action research... this site supports organizers of all initiatives where public participants are involved in scientific research.

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