Virtual Marine Biology: Using a New Technology for Videoconferencing over the Internet, Students Are Helping a Local Aquarium Conduct Marine Research
Brown, Mike, Technology & Learning
Last year, a handful of lucky students at Briardiff Manor school district in New York collaborated with marine experts at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, Conn., to study seals and other marine life in nearby Long Island Sound. The Seals on Camera project began with students accompanying a seal expert to visit seal habitats off Sheffield Island. There, they collected authentic data on the number of seals on rocks, wind speed, and cloud cover.
After returning to the classroom, students continued the study using Wave Three's Session software, which allows videoconferencing over any Internet-enabled computer. The aquarium provided live streaming video of seals in their natural habitat so students could observe and make conjectures about seal behavior. With remote guidance from experts at the aquarium, students dissected squid to learn about the form and function of marine invertebrates, and examined seal scat to look for evidence of the seals' diet. From their classroom, they were able to observe the aquarium staff dissect a shark, which allowed them to evaluate the differences between shark and human anatomy.
The aquarium also loaned the school a large number of live animals, such as sea stars, for students to study up close and discuss in collaborative sessions. …