As terrestrial beings, most people are challenged to understand the unique processes of the ocean or even fathom being able to take the plunge and dive below the waves. Among the challenges is that urban, rural and geographically land-locked people perceive the ocean to be a distant place beyond their reach. In addition, scientists are often conducting research on relevant topics at remote locations where it is virtually impossible for the majority of the general public to gain a first-hand experience. This reality creates enormous financial, logistical, physical constraints on bringing people into the field where they can directly explore the ocean.
CCMI’s education team has developed a transformational, interactive education programme using Virtual Live Experiences (VLEs) methods to connect students and the public to real-time coral reef activity, in an informal science setting. Scientists use high tech face masks and streaming computer equipment to deliver live lessons from the underwater and lab environment. Innovative technology enables VLEs to reduce barriers to learning by communicating interactive ‘real-life’ experiences in an informal, scalable science setting.
The project is structured to deliver curriculum-relevant lessons which are currently oriented to the Cayman Islands and UK national science curriculum for students in year 5 and year 6 classrooms, and which can be streamed directly anywhere in the world. This groundbreaking work was piloted in local schools initially and has the potential to become an international project, as students have tuned in from Bermuda, the UK, Peru and the United States.
Reefs Go Live has received incredible launch support from the following:
Derek Haines – and his marathon/mountain challenges
The Bank of Butterfield, Cayman Islands
The Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Foundation
Michael Maes – for his invaluable technical advice, time and generous equipment donations.