January 04, 2017

I have yet to find someone who likes Mondays as much as I do. For most, it’s an odd day of the week to revere. It marks the end of the weekend and the beginning of the next grind. I came to love the day because it represents a new beginning, a fresh start, much like the new year. In many ways, January is the Monday of the year. And at this time, as we set our goals for the next 12 months, it’s important to look back and see what can be learned from the previous 12.

Village kids.

For us teachers, scientists, explorers and filmmakers at Ocean First Education, 2016 could rightly be summed up in one word, ‘partnerships.’ Almost nothing makes us happier. Whether it was combining forces with Sylvia Earle and Mission Blue or teaming up with Colorado Digital Learning Solutions to offer our flagship semester course, Marine Science 101, to our entire landlocked state, partnering with Discovery Education for an Earth Day telecast that reached more than half a million students or becoming the premier marine science curriculum provider for the scuba diving industry, our year was highlighted by a number of amazing partnerships.

When we weren’t working with all these brilliant and creative minds, the Ocean First Education team was developing new content, and lots of it. Over the last 12 months, we doubled our product categories, introducing the Explorer Series, micro-sized snippets of content on a variety of topics, and 360 virtual field trips, which take students on an incredible, 360-degree journey to some of the most amazing places on the planet.

Best of all, we are just getting started. Manta Ray.At the end of last year, three OFE team members spent several weeks diving and filming in Raja Ampat, in an area known as the “cauldron of evolution.” In addition to filming sharks, turtles, and stunning coral reefs in 360-degree video, we came nose to nose with fifteen-foot mantas. Imagine students experiencing that in their next science class! We plan to release these new 360 videos and additional virtual field trips throughout the year.

If the word of the year is ‘partnerships,’ then the lesson learned is that you can’t do it on your own. With just about anything in life, it takes a collaboration of like-minded people and businesses to turn an idea into a movement. Improving science education is a commendable but lofty goal and it is only through the combined efforts of many committed people will such a fantastic goal be realized.

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