Here are some of the questions we have heard in discussions with teachers, experts in various fields, and friends about the VoySC program. We thought this might be a good opportunity to share them with our answers. The questions and answers are not in any particular order.
We hope this helps!
Q. What an idea! I am trying to envision the voyage and teaching in general and wonder how it will work. Can you give me a quick answer?
A.The Little Ship and Her Best Friend will be visiting and exploring at least 14 countries by a small boat and live stream broadcasting the many unique experiences they encounter into classrooms and to friends through this web site. Howard built his boat expressly for leg one of the voyage. Howard (with a small support team) will ship, drive, sail, explore, interact with people and engage with local teachers and experts who will assist him in delivering free live-stream broadcasts into classrooms worldwide.
Q. What will Howard be teaching?
A. Actually he is not teaching as much as sharing experiences that teachers can use to augment required content. Voyaging by small boat through exotic lands touches on most content areas. Topics such as science, math, history, culture, language, etc will be woven into broadcasts. In addition Howard and guests will weave a thread of sustainability, environmental challenges, and the unique positive solutions being employed in each country to meet these challenges.
Q. Is Howard the only sailor?
A. Howard and John Welsford are the primary skippers of the Little Ship and are inviting many guest sailors, in-country experts, teachers and others to join him in the scheduled live-stream interactive broadcasts. If you would like to sail a leg let us know.
Q. How can this happen? Is the technology there yet?
A. We will record and broadcast from on land and on the boat using small HD cameras, a WIFI hotspot, and leading edge live-stream technology streamed through our web site. We will also be using a program allowing us to edit on site at the time of filming. This means that we can post many moments virtually as they happen. The technology for live streaming into classrooms is simple, read below fore a description.
Q. How much will this cost my school and how much will it cost me in time? I am a teacher and have little extra time.
A. The program is free and is meant to assist teachers in delivering core requirements and not to add any work to their schedules. The adventure of a tiny ship and her intrepid voyager (a former college professor) is, by any measure an exciting and a wonderful opportunity to bring the world live into classrooms.
Q. Who is paying for this service to teachers and students?
A. The first leg is complete. The boat, equipment, shipping and other costs was paid for out of pocket by Howard Rice. To continue, we are seeking friends, supporters, and hopefully more than a few institutional or corporate donors.
Q. Has this sort of small boat voyaging live streamed to schools been done before?
A. Great question. Well since we are actually in process doing it then yes! We are not aware of any initiative quite like this one. The first leg of the journey is complete and the education program proof of concept, is in and the results are thrilled teachers and engaged students. To our knowledge, this approach to experiential learning- based on a real small boat voyage and shared utilizing interactive live streaming appears to be unique.
Q. How can broadcasts be applicable to elementary aged students through high school?
A. We will schedule and pre announce recommended age groups or applicable to everyone notices with each broadcast and podcast.
Q. What can my students benefit from being involved in the voyage?
Through engagement students can reach out from their desks and be directly connected to the world through the voyage of their “Little Ship. Teachers can use the voyage in many ways to make required curriculum more relevant. The teachable moments offered throughout the voyage can be a great enhancement for teachers striving to meet STEM and STEAM requirements.
The range of teachable moments is wide and touch on geography, exotic cultures, science and nature, environmental challenges and positive solutions, mathematics through navigation, history, current events and more. Best of all the voyage will continue to offer adventure, excitement and inspirational moments. Opportunities abound for creative writing, journaling, student-initiated research, letter writing, and artistic expression.
All of this will happen through the lens of shared experiences aboard a classic little ship, which is a bit of a throw back to the age of exploration gone by. Students will have daily opportunities to see human impacts on the planet including broader sustainability issues and positive solutions in a variety of settings from the hot tropics to the cold of Tibet. They will have the opportunity to learn about varied solutions and appropriate technologies being applied in the places we sail.
Q. What is Map Share Tracking?
Teachers, students and friends can share in actual tracking of the Little Ship via a live tracking program accessible through the Voysc web site. Southern Cross is equipped with an In Reach Delorme device that broadcasts position depicted on an electronic map including longitude and latitude. Tracking can be viewed on cell phones, tablets and computers. The Little Ship’s position is automatically updated by scheduled time. Teachers, students and their families and all the many friends we have can track the Little Ship and learn about the places she and her captain explore.
Q. How do I, as a teacher, benefit from this program?
Many of us working to offer this program are, or have been, teachers. We understand the monumental workloads most teachers face. Our objective is to offer an opportunity to augment the content you currently deliver in the classroom without creating any extra work. To this end we will archive our podcasts and through your log in and password you can access them at no charge at any time.
We hope to help you tune your classroom in to the larger world through any of our scheduled live stream broadcasts. We will publish a suggested list of information sites and reference materials in advance of each country we visit enabling you to prepare and build context into the live stream classroom sessions.
As a teacher you can use the important thread of personal responsibility we will run through everything we do presenting environmental protection ethics, examples of global sustainable development issues and positive solutions. Our goal is to help teachers engage and inspire young people at time when they are beginning to be independent and are curious about their world.
Q. What do I need in the classroom to make this happen?
Ideally you should have a WiFi signal, a computer, and the ability to project onto a screen, white board, or wall. If your school does not have WiFi then you can access the live stream by cell phone or the students can listen to the broadcast through this VoySC.com website. If your classroom does not have wifi then you can record any of our podcasts and show them to your students. Using your log-in and password you will have unlimited access to these downloadable archives. You can use these as often as you wish to integrate them into your classroom lessons using a laptop or computer. You are welcome to print anything we share out to share with your students and their families.
Q. Can multiple classrooms participate in the broadcasts at the same time?
We can only broadcast interactively with one classroom at a time; however, hundreds or even thousands of classrooms can be logged onto the web site at the same time to participate through observation during each live stream broadcast.
Interactive means students can ask questions and be answered in the moment. This will enable classrooms all over the world to benefit from watching and listening to the live classroom. Any teacher or school can request to be the live classroom as we plan to have as many different live classrooms featured over time as possible.
Q. If my classroom is not the live classroom how can my students have their questions answered?
A. Excellent question. Through the soon to be posted “Teachers Lounge” (our forum for teachers), you can participate in conversational posts with other teachers and can actually communicate with the teachers who have been selected for live sessions. In this way you can offer your students questions before the broadcast for consideration during the broadcast.
You can also submit questions related to an upcoming teaching module directly to our staff. Questions will be reviewed and the best questions, meaning most applicable for all classrooms participating will be selected. We are exploring the option of enabling type-in questions to be submitted during the live sessions from which our staff would pick the most relevant or valuable to all for answering during the broadcast. There is no guarantee your students' questions will be selected, but we will do our best to answer as many as possible during the allotted time. The value of having your classroom viewing the live stream sessions is they will have the opportunity to see students from other countries pose questions and receive answers.
Q. Can teachers pose questions to the VoySC staff?
A. Yes. Simply use our Contact Form.
Q. Can my classroom be considered for one of the direct live stream sessions?
A. Yes. Please let us know through our Contact Form that your classroom wishes to be selected as an interactive live classroom.
Q. Am I required to participate in all live stream classroom sessions?
We welcome you to utilize the voyage broadcasts as much or as little as you would like. Our hope is that you and your students will become so enamored with the offering that you will tune in often but there is no requirement of any kind to participate in any number of sessions.
One of the unique features of the program is its dynamic, ever-changing nature. Every day within a given country will be unique. When the Little Ship moves on to the next venue this should make for even greater interest, excitement and anticipation. Live-stream sessions will not be scheduled for each day we are in country; instead, they will take place every few days following a published schedule.
Q. How does it work if classrooms are logging in for a particular broadcast from all around the world in different time zones?
A. Our plan is to pre-publish the broadcast days in each venue, including the times during each day we will broadcast. For example, lets say we are broadcasting from Pohnpei, Micronesia. We will begin sessions at 9am local time, and broadcast every two hours during the day and into the evening. This will enable us to live stream to many time zones around the world on the same calendar day. Teachers in time zones that are not able to participate during the sessions on that day can access the archived broadcast and use it at a more convenient time and as frequently as they wish.
Q. Will anyone other than students and their teachers be able to watch the live stream classroom sessions or access the archived sessions?
A. Only you, as the registered teacher, your school administrators, your students, and their parents (using your classroom log-in and pass word) will be able to access the live stream classroom sessions, archived lessons and any photos of classrooms. Friends and followers of the voyage can log in to see non class room content specifically offered to them.
Q. I am a teacher and this sounds great. Is the program truly free or will there be cost that comes later?
A. The program is absolutely free to teachers and schools.
Q. How can it be free. Doesn’t shipping a boat around the world and live streaming cost a lot?
A. Yes, building and equipping a small boat, shipping it to many countries, and maintaining an in-field crew is very expensive, but we feel the mission is worth the effort and cost. We can only do this if we have financial support. Howard Rice, Gary Gnade, John Welsford have all invested to help the program get its wings.
Howard has dedicated a substantial investment by dedicating his boat and equipment to the program. If we cannot raise the funds leg by leg as we go forward or if we are unable to align with sponsors who will back the project then we will have to slow down or stop. In short we need support and this can come from a single donor or many small donations.
Q. As a teacher can I also donate to the program?
A. Absolutely! We welcome any and all forms of support.
Q. So if this is free to teachers is it also free to schools?
A. Yes, the program is 100% free to schools, school districts, and teachers.
Q. I am curious. Are the founders and management of the program volunteering or are they being paid?
At this early stage, everyone involved is volunteering to keep the project growing and on its way. Leg one has been successfully completed and Howard Rice paid for all costs and expenses out of pocket, enabling us to utilize his considerable investment, boat, and equipment to move on to leg two of the project. We are currently in the process of seeking financial supporters and donors because there will be budgeted expenses soon. At some point, personnel traveling to each country will need to be compensated for their time and effort.
Q. I plan to sign up. When I sign up do I get some sort of access log in or code or is the program open for anyone to use?
A. Good question. As a teacher, you will have the opportunity to fill out a simple application form, which includes a request for verification of your position at the school you are registering.
On the sign-up page, you will also have the opportunity to choose your personal log-in and password. The log in and password gives you secure access to the teacher areas of the web site, the live-stream classroom programs, the map share and live tracking page, and the archived live-stream sessions. The live stream into classrooms is secure and only accessible by teachers, student's, and students parents. Your students and their parents will have access using the log-in and password you register.
Our objective is to make all classrooms secure and safe. We will never publish, broadcast, sell or release classroom footage or archived live stream sessions to anyone at any time unless we have full written permission from parents.
Q. Why keep the interested groups separate?
A. We are teachers, and some of us parents. We believe in keeping all students safe and secure. This is our #1 priority. Only verified teachers and verified classrooms will be able to sign in and participate in the live-stream broadcasts.
Q. Can you explain how the two separate groups access the web site and what the general public can do on the web site?
A. Each teacher will be assigned their personal log-in or school log-in and password. This enables the teacher to access the live stream along with all other teachers who have registered a log-in and pass a verification process thus ensuring they are legitimately teaching in a school or as a home school teacher.
Q. OK, so I sign up; then what happens?
A. First, we will respond to you as we review your application and verification information. Once verified, you will receive a Welcome to the Crew email with instructions for accessing the sign in (log-in and password) page. Once signed in, you will be given access to the Teachers Lounge (the teachers forum). Beginning April 1st, 2018, the live stream portion of our web site will again go live, enabling you to log in and participate in a test live-stream practice session. This will help you learn what it takes to prepare, sign in, and enhance your classroom teaching using the service.