Ocean School: An educational deep-dive, from the comfort of home
In an effort to teach Canadian youth about the ocean, Halifax’s Dalhousie University has launched a new interactive program that will allow students to dive deep into the marine world using immersive and innovative technology.
Ocean School is an online education tool that employs 360-degree videos, virtual reality, interactive games and other multi-media on its free website – available in both official languages – to teach youth aged 11 to 15 about ocean science and sustainability.
Janet Stalker, the school’s program director, said the aim is to promote ocean literacy among Canadian youth who may have limited access to the ocean.
“Ocean literacy is the extent to which a person understands their impact on the ocean, but also the ocean’s impact on them,” she explained to CTV’s Your Morning on Wednesday. “It’s part of our economic backbone, it affects our weather and climate, it’s woven into the cultural fabric of Canada.”
The program, in partnership with the National Film Board of Canada, officially launched in select classrooms in Nova Scotia earlier this month, but Stalker said the goal is to integrate it into curriculums across the country.
“We thought if we can’t bring all the students to the ocean than this is a way we can bring the ocean to them,” she said.
Stalker said the educational program gives teachers a lot of flexibility to adapt it to their current lesson plans.
“Although it’s the science, math, technology, and engineering are kind of the backbone of ocean school, it’s actually easily adaptable to be used for other disciplines as well like history and geography, even the languages,” she said.
As they secure more partnerships with different organizations, such as UNESCO, Stalker said they will be able to add more content and new technology to the website.
“With new partnerships come more opportunities for us to go out join scientists and subject matter experts out in the field and capture more stories, more interesting, engaging, experiences that we can bring to students across Canada and in fact the world,” Stalker said.