Ocean Wise Education is embarking on a new and exciting digital adventure. In recent years, technical advances have paved the way for digital education and online learning. Video conferencing is yet another way to break down barriers to education, by reaching students who might not have the opportunity to visit Ocean Wise’s Vancouver Aquarium and learn about our oceans.
“We can take students to the Amazon River, to a tropical coral reef, or bring them right to our doorstep on the Canadian west coast, without them ever having to leave their classroom,” says Rachael Bell-Irving, coordinator of Curriculum Programs at Ocean Wise Education.
Ocean Wise Education recently made headway on this digital adventure in a video-conferencing presentation at the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) conference in Bonn, Germany. This international meeting, between delegates from the 152 countries that ratified the Paris Agreement, was a chance to share clean energy projects and jump-start the green economy. On November 7, Ocean Wise’s Vice-President of Research and Executive Director of CORI Dr. Peter Ross gave a talk on the importance of sustainable seafood to coastal communities. (A huge shout-out to our partners at the Centre for Global Education for making this talk happen.)
“We have to consider us humans as part of the natural environment. Nowhere is this more evident than in coastal communities, where sea food is more accessible and more important to the people living there,” he told an online crowd of 800 participants, representing every continent as well as schools in India, Australia, the United States and Canada. Since the Bonn presentation, another 15,000 participants have viewed Dr. Ross’ lecture. You can watch the full lecture here.
Ocean Wise Education currently offers a Virtual Aquaclass program to connect students with marine science through teleconferencing. After a field trip to the Aquarium, teachers commonly use the program as a tool for opening up classroom conversation around the ocean. New this year, Ocean Wise is partnering with Connected North to provide educational programming to First Nations communities all around Canada.
Ocean Wise is also participating in long-term virtual projects that connect students to the ocean, like The Ocean Wise National Dialogue on Water. This online learning opportunity engages youth across Canada in an national conversation around water rights. Classrooms from British Columbia to New Brunswick to Yellowknife are taking part in the initiative, a collaboration between Ocean Wise and the Centre for Global Education. Students collaborating and conversing together hope to address the Canadian Senate on the issue in 2018.