DigitalOcean: Sampling the Sea is a multi-disciplinary ocean science education and social networking initiative based at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Sampling the Sea involves middle and high school students in 200 ePals classrooms around the world in sharing information about declining global fish populations and implications for humans and oceans.
Students will collect and share data, images, and stories about seafood choices in their communities and learn how these choices affect the health of the world’s oceans. The goal of the project is to engage the next generation of consumers in a global dialogue about the interrelationships among human customs, regulatory laws, fishing practices, wildlife management, and the future of the sea.
UC Santa Barbara organizations participating in the project are the Carsey-Wolf Center for Film, Television, and New Media, the Marine Science Institute, and the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. Partner organizations include the New Media Research Institute, Google Ocean, NASA GLOBE, and ePals.
Support for Sampling the Sea is provided by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
About the Pilot Project
We seek middle and high school teachers and students (ages 13 and above) in English-speaking classrooms around the world to participate in Sampling the Sea’s spring 2010 pilot project. Participating teachers will receive curriculum guides, exercises, online training and support to help them implement the program. Curriculum modules will be flexible, and teachers can individually determine how much time they spend on in-class activities (from as little as three days to intermittently over two months).
For the pilot project, students collect data and complete simple questionnaires about seafood eaten in their communities. They upload their findings into an online data base that integrates them with those from other participating classrooms. Findings will be visually displayed in graphs and other representations illustrating seafood sustainability issues and the hazards facing the ocean. Students will also be able to share photos and stories from their research, and discuss possible solutions with students from classrooms in other regions or countries of the world through a secure social networking system.
Students will need computer access to ePals to upload content into the Sampling the Sea database, which will be housed in ePals LearningSpace. They will also need access to digital cameras (cell phone cameras are fine). Participating teachers will receive instructions on how to register with the program if not already ePals members. (Free to join ePals and to use SchoolMail, Projects, and Forums.)
ePals has TRUSTe certification, the highest level of child safety and protection, and is used in 200 countries by more than 16 million students and teachers, in 35 languages. ePals has state agreements in Kansas, Maine, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to provide its safe and protected SchoolMail, projects and forums and country agreements in Kenya and Thailand.