ONC Launches ‘Ocean Sense’ at Brentwood College School
Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), an initiative of the University of Victoria, has launched a pilot ocean science educational program at Brentwood College School.
Ocean Sense is a free, novel online educational program based on analyzing, understanding and sharing ocean data collected by the observatories.
“At ONC we believe it’s crucial that global citizens develop an ocean sense; an understanding that the health of the ocean reflects the health of the planet. We’re excited to be launching this program in partnership with Brentwood College School, where teachers and students have the ocean close by and are enthusiastic about this project and its potential,” Maia Hoeberechts, Associate Director User Services, ONC
In 2012, Brentwood College School was chosen as the first test location for the community observatory, in part because of its location at Mill Bay with direct access to the sea. The enthusiasm and cooperation of the school administration was also vital.
Bud Patel, Head of School, Brentwood College School, commented: “With the Saanich Inlet at our doorstep, it’s quite natural for us to be involved with ocean activities, including studies in marine science. We’re looking forward to sharing local observations and building global connections, as our students come to Brentwood from around the world.”
The pilot year of “Ocean Sense” is directed towards students in Grades 8 to 10. First, students are encouraged to develop an understanding of ocean conditions at their doorstep through the analyses of community observatory data. Then, they connect that knowledge with the health of the global ocean by engaging with students at other schools participating in the educational program.
Students and teachers access educational material and data through a web portal, and use video conferencing and social media tools to communicate their findings. A series of lesson plans introduces the teachers and students to cabled observatory technology and instrumentation, including technical aspects and their value in monitoring changing ocean conditions.
Brentwood College School in Mill Bay, British Columbia, and Kiilinik High School in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut are the two flagship schools in the year-long pilot program. Both observatory systems were recently upgraded.
ONC’s community observatory systems are a cornerstone of “Ocean Sense.” These smaller-scale versions of technologies developed on the NEPTUNE and VENUS cabled ocean observatories are designed to make real-time underwater observations available to the local community, where each is located.