Thursday, July 21, 2016 (Halifax, NS) – Dalhousie University and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) welcomed the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to campus today to announce $250,000 for the development of the pilot project Ocean School. The project is a partnership between Dalhousie University and the National Film Board with support from the Government of Canada through Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Nova Scotia Government through the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
Ocean School is an ocean science, education and technology initiative that will use innovative teaching and storytelling techniques and platforms for youth ages 11-15 (grades 6-9). The program will help improve “ocean literacy” while engaging Canadian youth about science in general. By creating a compelling and integrated learning experience, Ocean School aims to capture the interest of young people during a transformative phase in their lives.
“We are proud to partner with Dalhousie University and the National Film Board on the development of Ocean School. By fueling youth’s interest in ocean science, this advanced, state-of-the-art program will help inspire Canada’s next generation of ocean leaders, innovators and researchers,” said the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
“We are thrilled Minister LeBlanc visited campus today to provide us with this generous funding; it will enable us to move this project into the next stage of its development,” said Dr. Martha Crago, vice-president of research at Dalhousie University. “This program unites Dalhousie’s world-leading ocean science and education expertise with NFB’s award-winning creative talent and learning technologies. We’re very excited to see how it will make a difference for Canadian youth and we thank the Government of Canada for its generosity.”
“The National Film Board of Canada is excited to be working with Dalhousie University on Ocean School, the latest in a long tradition of NFB initiatives that bring together Canadian expertise in science, media and education to create cutting-edge learning experiences,” said Claude Joli-Coeur, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada. “As the world’s oceans bear the brunt of climate change and the demands of a growing global population, it’s more important than ever that young Canadians have the resources they need to face these challenges and make wise choices. With the assistance of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Ocean School will go a long way in changing how we view our oceans―so vast, so rich with life, but also threatened as never before.”
The project has been supported by the Nova Scotia Government through the pilot testing of Ocean School for Nova Scotia students in Grade 7.
“This is a great example of a partnership between government, university and industry that highlights the innovation we are bringing to curriculum development in our schools to better prepare today’s students to lead productive lives in their communities,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey. “Through the Action Plan on Education, we are building on Nova Scotia’s reputation of innovation in the classroom and leading the way in education in Canada.”
Ocean School’s core elements include the Ocean School Learning Experience, a program of short-films and teacher resources for youth; Ocean School 360˚, an immersive virtual reality learning experiences; and a physical Ocean School Headquarters based at Dalhousie University that will give students direct access to marine scientists and cutting edge research while involving them in hands-on science projects.
The results from the Ocean School pilot project will inform its broader development over the next three years, with a phased implementation beginning nationwide and extending globally.
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Nova Scotia – Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
Online Screening Room: NFB.ca