One of them stops to look at you. It's so close you could touch it. Suddenly the whale dives. You look down into the depths and follow it.
You surface and climb onto a waiting boat. Somebody's talking to you.
“Did you enjoy your dive?”
You turn and find yourself face-to-face with marine scientist Sarika Cullis-Suzuki, daughter of award-winning scientist and broadcaster, David Suzuki.
Sarika describes the critical role apex predators play in the ocean food web. Behind her an orca leaps out of the water. You freeze-frame it in mid-leap, then glide over to have a closer look. Text and graphics slide out next to the whale detailing it's weight, age, diet preferences, swimming speed and migratory pathway.
The next day at school, your teacher logs into Ocean School with her National Film Board (NFB) Education account and shares the lesson’s critical challenge:
“How are orcas like humans?”
On a screen at the front of the class you watch a series of short documentary films. In one of them, Sarika Cullis-Suzuki describes the fascinating cultures and languages of different orca pods. In another, she presents a compelling history of the vital relationship between orcas and the Haida people of the Pacific Northwest.
You discuss with your classmates and log into the Ocean School Community to look at other students’ responses to today’s critical challenge. You notice that students from British Columbia have posted photos of yesterday’s field trip to Telegraph Cove. You open an Ocean Tracker app to see if the orcas they saw are still in the area.
Your teacher then connects to the NFB’s Ocean School Virtual Classroom site. On the large screen at the front of the room, Sarika is broadcasting live in real time from the Dalhousie Ocean Education and Outreach Centre.
Ocean School is a ground-breaking educational and public engagement initiative that uses innovative learning and storytelling techniques to foster ocean literacy. A joint initiative of Dalhousie University and the National Film Board of Canada, Ocean School focuses on ocean science, technology and innovation while also providing insight into the broader economic, social, environmental, and cultural dimensions of the human relationship with the marine environment. The joint vision outlined here celebrates the collaborative nature of Ocean School and will continue to guide the project’s development.
Ocean School's objectives are to:
an online, curriculum and inquiry-based educational program that integrates short films, immersive virtual reality experiences, educational gaming and multi-media learning resources to connect learners to the ocean. Although OSL is designed for use in classrooms among youth aged 11-15, the content is produced in a flexible manner that makes the program accessible and engaging to younger and older audiences, both inside and outside of the classroom.
a series of immersive Virtual Reality (VR) and 360˚ experiences designed to engage a global audience. Ocean School 360˚ is delivered on head-mounted displays, tablets, smartphones and in VR-enabled web browsers. Users can explore immersive environments to discover a series of augmented reality vignettes that present additional content related to the person, place, creature and issue at hand.
a physical centre for Ocean Education, Research and Public Engagement based at Dalhousie University. Ocean School HQ will host the Ocean School engagement team, a focused group of scientists, communicators, content creators and connectors. The goal is to work with like-minded individuals and organizations to foster an open conversation that begins in classrooms, aquariums or public installations and encourages direct action through a wide network of strategic partnerships with established citizen-science and citizen-engagement programs.
Thanks to the generous contributions of our supporters, the Ocean School team successfully developed and tested the Ocean School Learning prototype over the past year. The team is currently revising the prototype into a distribution-ready model, which will be publicly launched with additional content in the spring of 2018.
The prototype Ocean School 360˚ experience will be publicly available in early 2018.
As part of the 1st United Nations Oceans Conference, Ocean School has partnered with other organizations from around the world to submit a voluntary commitment in support of global ocean literacy efforts. The "Ocean Literacy for ALL" initiative aims to develop a global partnership to raise the awareness on the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of our ocean and its resources and to build an improved public knowledge base across the worlds population regarding our global ocean. Learn more at oceanconference.un.org.
Stay up to date
Jessica Brown, Producer (J.Brown@nfb.ca)
Jacques Gautreau, Producer (J.Gautreau@nfb.ca)
Janet Stalker, Program Director (Janet.Stalker@dal.ca)
Sonya Lee, Science Education Lead (Sonya.Lee@dal.ca)