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Record-breaking former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly has a unique insight into staying engaged and motivated while in isolation.
In 2016 Kelly became the first American to spend 12 consecutive months in space when he completed an epic 340-day stint on the International Space Station.
With remote learning replacing physical classrooms for millions of children during the coronavirus lockdown, Kelly says that kids’ long-term goals and aspirations are more important than ever.
“I think it’s important to let them know that their education is still important despite everything that is going on out there,” he said, acknowledging that the lockdown has brought plenty of challenges for children and their parents. “Distance learning, or homeschooling, it’s good for some kids, but not all.”
Kelly spoke to Fox News prior to taking part in Research Quest Live, which let students participate in live sessions with professional educators from the Natural History Museum of Utah while schools are closed. The former astronaut will take part in an hourlong Q&A as part of Research Quest Live on Friday at 11:30 a.m. ET on Friday.
Perseverance, he told Fox News, will eventually pay off for students struggling with distance learning. “I recognize that it’s not easy – often things that are meaningful are hard and challenging,” he added. “Find inspiration where you can find it.”
During an interview with Fox News in 2018, he explained how he went from being a bad student to a Navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and, eventually, an astronaut. He said that he owes his storied space career to Tom Wolfe’s famous book “The Right Stuff,” about the early space program, which he read when he was an 18-year-old student at State University of New York Maritime College in the Bronx.
The Research Quest classes are offered via livestream every weekday and are available on-demand 24/7. Students from 56 countries and all 50 states have accessed the program, according to the Natural History Museum of Utah. “Research Quest Live provides a classroom environment,” the museum’s executive director, Jason Cryan, said, adding that the program teaches topics such as paleontology, ecology, biodiversity and climate.
During Friday’s event, Kelly will give insight into his incredible experiences in space and, hopefully, provide motivation to students, according to Cryan. “We’re very excited,” he told Fox News.
“Finding ways to reach a large audience and kids of different attention spans is much more important now that they are learning from home,” Kelly said.
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers