Open Ocean believes education and outreach are central to our mission of creating a global community of explorers and growing a culture of exploration and discovery. By instilling ocean exploration interest and democratizing access to the tools of ocean exploration, we can empower both experts and the broader community to make discoveries. We have offered creative outreach, public outreach, professional development, and K-12 STEAM activities to the Cambridge school district, MIT community, and at events reaching audiences from Boston, the US, and the world.
849 people total [345 K12 students]; 24 events
Events range from developing and delivering hands-on workshops that are hours-long to multi-day events and offering demos and STEAM activities. Training included a SCUBA course and NG Deep Sea Camera System training for MIT students and staff.
As an example of our hands-on approach, we ran a workshop with 40+ high school students from the 2018 National Geographic Student Expedition (NGSE) using our initial LEGO Wayfinder prototype. Students adapted the prototype, customizing it to execute experiments of their own design in the harbor near the New England Aquarium. In 2019, 50 NGSE students built their own water explorer, the Pontoon Explorer, a small remote control surface boat made of low cost electronics and hardware store parts that has a temperature sensor and LED temperature indicator. Student teams constructed, programmed, tested, and iterated on their Pontoon Explorers at the MIT Sea Grant teaching lab and test tank to identify thermal plumes in the surface water.
570 people total; 2 events
Open Ocean has hosted two major events at the Media Lab, Here Be Dragons and All Hands on Deck. Both events included panel discussions, as well as hands-on demonstrations and workshops focused on engaging participants more fully than speakers alone. Numerous connections and collaborations were made, with far-reaching impacts that even we have not yet documented. We have received excellent feedback from event participants, including encouragement to host additional events along similar themes.
6,240 people total [135 K12 students]; 52 events
Speaking opportunities ranged from small groups to large forums in-person with virtual attendees, from classrooms to Comic Con to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. These events offered the opportunity to share Open Ocean’s mission, further our research, mentor students, and instill a sense of community and drive out-of-the box thinking as we invent the future of ocean exploration.
Online streaming of Here be Dragons and All Hands on Deck greatly expanded our reach globally, from hundreds to tens of thousands. Working with organizations such as National Geographic also amplifies our message beyond those with whom we work directly. Our work and personnel have been featured in online articles, including: Women in Oceanography Still Navigate Rough Seas (Eos, 2019) and My Deep Sea, My Backyard: Empowering Nations To Study The Deep (Forbes, 2018). Open Ocean Director Dr. Bell was also featured in the National Geographic documentary, Women of Impact in 2019, and in the December 2020 issue of National Geographic Magazine reaching audiences around the globe.