New Cisco Video Technology Connecting Students Globally to Science in Antarctica

For the first time ever, One Ocean Expeditions will be implementing satellite-based video conferencing technology through Connected North, a ground-breaking program with Ecosystem Leader TakingITGlobal that delivers virtual education alongside our long term partner Ocean Wise. A ‘Cisco’ unit has successfully completed a test broadcast onboard RCGS Resolute during the Marine Mammals of Antarctica voyage, and will be utilized by a team of international marine mammal scientists including Dr Ari Friedlaender onboard.

Ari Friedlaender returning aboard after the first successful tagging of a minke whale. Photo: Steve Rose
Ari Friedlaender returning aboard after the first successful tagging of a minke whale. Photo: Steve Rose

Connected North’s Virtual Outreach Programs provide students with a unique experience to learn about ocean science without having to leave their classrooms. The opportunity to explore questions with people who are actively involved in ocean conservation and research facilitates a deeper relationship with the natural world. The audio and visual of the Cisco telepresence is state-of-the-art, bringing live broadcasts into remote communities, and developing these connections encourages environmental stewardship.

“Connected North is proud to partner with One Ocean Expeditions to increase the accessibility of field education and science for Indigenous students in distant populations,” said Michael Furdyk, Director of Innovation at TakingITGlobal, “We are appreciative of OOE’s support and commitment to provide students with access to content that is engaging and innovative, increasing feelings of empowerment in school and in life.”

The initial broadcast, scheduled for Friday, March 29th will allow Dr. Friedlaender and his team to share their in-depth knowledge and research that aims to improve the understanding of whales, with a focus on underwater behavior and links between marine mammals and their environments. The team will also be teaching viewers about their use of non-invasive suction up video tags and drones that help them research the feeding and social behavior of the whales.

Minke whale by Steve Rose
Minke whale by Steve Rose

In addition to the inaugural transmission from RCGS Resolute, additional broadcasts are planned to connect with Vancouver Aquarium, Exploring By the Seat of Your Pants, a series of nationwide schools in connection with Canadian Geographic Education, as well as a selection of dedicated social media followers of OOE. On the following voyage, Royal Canadian Geographical Society fellows on board will be connecting with the society and other fellows at their Ottawa base.

“When organizations like ours collaborate, we can we facilitate quality educational experiences,” said James Bartram, Vice President of Education & Youth at Ocean Wise. “Any time we can share the awe and wonder of these remote and special places with a broader audience, with a nominal carbon footprint, we are happy to do so.”

We are working to have a Cisco unit on board each of our three vessels so that all of our ships are able to contribute to this exciting educational initiative.

We have a number of broadcast links available to provide to schools who wish to tune in to hear Dr Friedlaender and his team present, scheduled for Friday, March 29th, 2019 at 10-10:45 PST. If your school is interested in participating, please email [email protected] Links are provided on a first come first served basis.

We also have a number of broadcast links available for our social media followers who wish to tune in. If you are a follower of OOE and wish to participate, please comment and direct message us on the One Ocean Expeditions Facebook account. Again, links are provided on a first come first served basis.