Providing Opportunities for Students to Connect and Engage with Ocean Scientists in the Field, Classroom, and Remotely

Friday, 11 December 2020
Amanda J Waite and Angela Rosenberg, ANGARI Foundation, West Palm Beach, FL, United States
As a nonprofit dedicated to marine science research and education, ANGARI Foundation works diligently to create meaningful opportunities for audiences of all demographics to engage with ocean scientists while learning critical skills and knowledge that inspire environmental conservation and informed decision making. We prefer these engagements be hands-on and place-based whenever possible, as best exemplified by our teacher and student expeditions aboard our 65-foot research vessel, R/V ANGARI, and our community-based Lagoon Drift citizen science study investigating marine debris transport around Florida. Still, we recognize the financial and logistical limitations of trying to reach larger, broader audiences with these experiences - an issue exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic’s restriction of face-to-face interactions.

ANGARI Foundation has met these challenges head on, developing a 360/virtual reality film series, Generation Ocean, and complementary standards-aligned lessons that allow students to join research expeditions in an immersive yet accessible format. The 360 content and inquiry-based activities enable students to follow their interests while viewing the film, examining related datasets, and researching and raising awareness of relevant conservation issues. Additionally, we are working with our partners to deliver our Ocean Expert Exchange webinar series. Each 30-minute live event features an ocean scientist from an R/V ANGARI expedition presenting briefly on their area of expertise before opening the conversation to questions from the audience and thus allows students to guide the direction of the discussion. We also curate and make available complementary educational resources (e.g. readings, video shorts, lessons/activities), expert biographies and R/V ANGARI expedition information to scaffold learning associated with the webinar. Recordings and all supporting materials are accessible after the exchange for those unable to participate in the live event. This presentation will discuss our in-person and remote educational programming in conjunction with our science and educational partners, as well as the insights and experiences we’ve gained in executing educational opportunities in these formats.