Abstract The International Heliophysical Year (IHY) aims to advance our understanding of the fundamental processes that govern the Sun, Earth, and heliosphere. The IHY Education and Outreach Program is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of space and Earth scientists as well as spreading the knowledge, beauty, and relevance of our solar system to the people of the world. In our Space Weather Monitor project we deploy a global network of sensors to high schools and universities to provide quantitative diagnostics of solar-induced ionospheric disturbances, thunderstorm intensity, and magnetospheric activity. We bring real scientific instruments and data in a cost-effective way to students throughout the world. Instruments meet the objectives of being sensitive enough to produce research-quality data, yet inexpensive enough for placement in high schools and universities. The instruments and data have been shown to be appropriate to, and usable by, high school age and early university students. Data contributed to the Stanford data center is openly shared and partnerships between groups in different nations develop naturally. Students and teachers have direct access to scientific expertise. The result is a world-wide collaboration of scientists, teachers, and students to investigate the variability of the ionosphere. The research-quality AWESOME (Atmospheric Weather Electromagnetic System of Observation, Modeling, and Education) instruments have been selected as a participating program by the United Nations Basic Space Science Initiative (UNBSSI). The IHY Committee for International Education and Public Outreach has designated the simpler SID (Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance) monitors to be provided to teacher/student teams in each of the 192 countries of the world.