Finalist category: BT Ingenious Award 2014
Digital Explorer is a social enterprise that develops education projects in collaboration with scientific and cultural expeditions, helping to bring the world to the classroom and encouraging young people to become more engaged global citizens. With a background in education and proven achievements in linking schools with distant corners of the world, Digital Explorer is setting the standard in using technology on expeditions and in the classroom. All the resources available on the Digital Explorer website are completely free and designed to be integrated with classroom teaching. They demonstrate that National Curriculum topics can be taught with materials which are current and pertinent, that they can be varied, engaging and can support a high standard of teaching.
Digital Explorer recently connected thousands of students to an Arctic expedition investigating the continuing impacts of climate change on the Arctic Ocean. Called Frozen Oceans Live, the expedition specifically looked at ocean acidification in one of the most vulnerable and fragile environments on the planet. The Frozen Oceans Live Event allowed schools to interact live via satellite with the expedition at the Natural Environment Research Council base on Svalbard, the northernmost public settlement in the world. A curriculum-based online Frozen Oceans education programme was developed to accompany the expedition and students were also able to interact with the expedition through social media. Linking up live with Digital Explorer’s Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop and Dr Helen Findlay from Plymouth Marine Laboratory students were able to meet the scientists on the expedition. They could see for themselves the vast snowy environment and the cold weather clothes the scientists had to wear. The students also had the chance to ask the scientists anything they wanted, from ‘have you seen a polar bear?’ to in-depth questions about the experiments they were conducting.
Their programmes cover a wide variety of global topics, providing tangible content for the teaching of these topics in schools. From popularising the use of Google Earth; facilitating live, face-to-face chats with schools from around the world; taking a student group to Pakistan when everyone said it was impossible; to getting the oceans into the National Curriculum, Digital Explorer has been at the forefront of change on the education scene.
Visit the Digital Explorer website to see the materials and how they are used in the classroom.