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Center for Educational Technologies projects have ended (except Challenger Learning Center) and are no longer funded.

Challenger Expands Missions to India, Argentina, South Africa

Tue Jul 7 2009

Fernando Grigera, a visiting student this summer at Wheeling Jesuit University from Argentina, and Lori Kudlak direct an e-Mission for teachers in Argentina.The world has recently become a little smaller place relatively speaking with the e-Missions distance learning program at the Challenger Learning Center at Wheeling Jesuit University.

On June 20 Lori Kudlak, lead flight director for the e-Missions program, conducted the center's first e-Mission to India. Kudlak connected via videoconference in Wheeling with Westwood International School in Visakhapatnam to train 40 teachers in the Space Station Alpha mission. The teachers will now be able to prepare their students for that mission, in which students help protect astronauts aboard the International Space Station from a large solar flare.

"Hats off to you to be awake at 3 a.m. and to cheer up our teachers," wrote H. Ravichhandran, who coordinated the event at the Indian school. "The teachers were thrilled on this learning, and the program could give them an insight into how an interactive classroom should be."

On June 26 Kudlak trained six teachers at the Taborin School in Córdoba, Argentina. They took part in Operation Montserrat, in which participants have to decide how to save the residents of the small Caribbean island of Montserrat as a volcano erupts and a hurricane approaches in this simulated emergency.

Later this month teachers at St. Albans College in South Africa will participate in Operation Montserrat. Then, on Sept. 28, the teachers will help their students through the same mission during an evening event for Math Week at the all-male college.

This summer's missions continue the Challenger Learning Center's efforts to expand its reach internationally. Earlier this year the center conducted e-Missions for children in Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan. Last year, the center flew a mission with students in Rome and repeated that mission again last month. For the last two years there have been missions for Korean educators, complete with Korean translators at the Wheeling facility. Challenger staff also have demonstrated e-Missions for educators in Northern Ireland.

The Challenger Learning Center is one of 47 centers worldwide established by the Challenger Center for Space Science in memory of the space shuttle Challenger. More than 40,000 students fly missions each year either at the Wheeling facility or through distance learning. The Challenger Learning Center has been honored nine years for having served the most children of all the centers. In 2008 the e-Missions program made more than 1,000 video connections to classrooms around the world.