The Oregon Coast Aquarium announces the relaunch of Oceanscape Network, the largest online marine and natural history education provider in the state of Oregon. Connecting youth and educators to nature and conservation topics, www.oceanscape-aquarium.org is a free educational resource that facilitates the teen user’s personal exploration of the natural world through a dynamic online community.
Exclusively showcasing original content, the website connects students to scientists and researchers sharing first-person accounts of their work at sea, around Oregon and in a variety of ecosystems. In partnership with several prestigious agencies and organizations, like Schmidt Ocean Institute and WhaleTimes, Inc, leaders in the natural sciences take curious youth on exciting journeys without ever leaving home.
Originally created in 2014 with a regional focus, the Aquarium’s Oceanscape developers came to realize that people from all over the United States and abroad were visiting the site. In the years since its launch, both the use of online learning and youth awareness of environmental issues has evolved, inspiring a relaunch of Oceanscape Network.
“We now have a much greater emphasis on getting young people involved in outdoor education and having a voice on topics that protect the ocean and other ecosystems,” explained Marsh Myers, Aquarium Manager of Online Experiences. “We recognize that this audience is very connected to technology. It makes sense to reach them where they are,” he added.
With regularly expanded and updated content, the website’s “voice” is driven largely by teen interests. From focus groups to guide the design, to the development of youth correspondents working both behind and in front of the camera, this is a unique program that empowers youth to help create content for a teen audience.
The Oceanscape relaunch also gave developers an opportunity to revamp the subject matter aimed at educators. Guided by the Aquarium’s teacher programs manager, Sara Shaw Roberts, the site offers Coast Connections, a variety of modules focused on carefully researched conservation topics that teachers can use to energize existing lesson plans.
The Virtual Exploration program found on the Oceanscape Network is particularly unique, allowing website users to join a scheduled exploration or view archived adventures. From exploring underwater volcanoes to swimming with manta rays, these visually stunning opportunities are both thrilling and informative. All are guided by topic-specific experts who bring real-life science to the online audience.
While the Oceanscape Network’s primary goal is to use the Aquarium’s high standards to deliver a distance learning program that connects youth with real-life scientists and explorers, adults will be equally fascinated by the site’s content. Exploring the website is the best way to learn about the vast offerings for students and educators. For more information, please visit oceanscape-aquarium.org
Information and photos provided by OCA