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Skype Across the Frozen Oceans

Expedition educator Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop has a passion for education and ocean science. A former school teacher, he founded the Digital Explorer program to bring his two loves together by sharing his expeditions in the Frozen Oceans with classrooms across the globe using technology.

Jamie’s passion for being out on the ocean is palpable as he describes the remote region of the Arctic: “on a still day the air is a cloud of fairy dust, like walking through a cloud of speckled diamonds,” he muses. This current expedition is investigating the impact of ocean acidification on krill – these small invertebrates lay the foundation for all larger marine life. With the aid of the Digital Explorer program and Skype video calls, lesson plans on the Arctic turn learning into real life, not just pages in a textbook.Over the last weeks of April, Jamie and the team of scientists spoke with nearly 50 classrooms of all ages via Skype.  They enjoyed one-to-one sessions with Jamie, live from Svalbard, an area in the Arctic about midway between Norway and the North Pole. Guest expert calls like these occur all over the world in a range of subjects – our environment, history, math and science. They allow for in-depth conversations where students are inspired and learning happens.

Mrs. K., an elementary school teacher from the United States shared, “Having a professional scientist speak to them about multiple trials for a scientific investigation had a real impact on my students.”

More than 6,000 miles away, Mr. Neufeld, an English language teacher in Northern Cyprus said, “It was amazing to see Jamie turn the webcam on his laptop around so we could see the Arctic landscape from his window.”

From the comfort of their classrooms, over 3,000 students were able to discover the importance of this remote region and its delicate ecosystem. If you would like to explore the Arctic, you can find additional lessons or download some of the Frozen Oceans resources including booklets with structured lesson plans, activity and experiment sheets and posters free from Skype in the classroom

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