a1 Gemini Observatory, La Serena, Chile email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beginning in 2001, the Gemini Observatory began the development of an innovative and aggressive education and outreach programme at its southern hemisphere site in northern Chile. A principal focus of this effort is centered on local education and outreach to communities surrounding the observatory and its base facility in La Serena, Chile. Programmes are now established with local schools using two portable StarLab planetaria, an internet-based teacher exchange called StarTeachers and multiple partnerships with local educational institutions. Other elements include a CD-ROM-based virtual tour that allows students, teachers and the public to experience the observatory's sites in Chile and Hawaii. This virtual environment allows interaction using a variety of immersive scenarios such as a simulated observation using real data from Gemini. Pilot projects like “Live from Gemini” are currently being developed which use internet video-conferencing technologies to bring the observatory's facilities into classrooms at universities and remote institutions. Lessons learned from the implementation of these and other programmes will be introduced and the challenges of developing educational programming in a developing country will be shared.