Not for Profit organisation Oceans Project (www.oceansproject.com) today announced the launch of the 2014 Great British Viking Quest, which brings the ocean alive for learners of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) worldwide. The expedition represents the culmination of two years work and uses the thrill of expedition, to inspire and empower a new generation of Ocean Ambassadors.
Oceans Project was founded in 2010 by Sarah Weldon FRGS (a STEM Ambassador for Oxfordshire and Berkshire, with a background in cognitive neuropsychology, IMCA Diver Medic Technician, and former Midshipmanin the Oxford University Royal Naval Unit). Oceans Project provides free, online environmental and STEM education to more than 17,000 disadvantaged young people in over 53 countries, who would otherwise have no access to any form of education, and are therefore unable to lift themselves or their families out of poverty. Funds raised during each year’s expedition will be split 50/50 between Oceans Project and the Thai Children’s Trust. The expedition will be brought to life via a purpose built Frog online platform, which allows students in developed and developing countries to connect and collaborate in a password protected and secure environment. The expedition blog, Skype in the Classroom lessons, 3D film footage, tracking device, photos, podcasts and updates will all be available on the platform for students. This allows students to feel as if they too are on the expedition as they can follow it in real time, from their smartphone, laptop, or tablet computer, during the school holidays, as part of their class, for homework, or whilst they wait for a bus. Teachers in the UK will assist the online students with a weekly STEM challenge, linked to the expedition. The winner of the challenge each week, will receive a 30 minute sat phone call with Sarah live from the expedition, recorded as a podcast for fellow students, and post expedition will be entered into a final round, with the chance to win £1000 for a community project at their school or orphanage, a signed oar from the expedition, and personal visit from Sarah.
The GREAT BRITISH VIKING QUEST sets out from Sarah Weldon’s home town of Henley-On-Thames on Wednesday 28 May 2014 in her 23 foot long, 6 foot wide ocean rowing boat ‘Mr Toad’ (after the Wind in the Willows), designed by British Yachtsman Phil Morrison and built by Guinness World Record Holder Charlie Pitcher from Rannoch Adventure. The journey of over 2000 miles will take approximately 12 weeks, non stop and unassisted, and has never been done as a solo row. Sarah will face some of the busiest shipping lanes, fastest tides, and most unpredictable weather in the world, making this a more technically challenging row than crossing an ocean. During the expedition, Sarah will draw comparisons between the vikings as pioneers using the most technologically advanced boats at the time and her own journey, boat, and equipment. Where vikings used ravens and celestial navigation to find land, Sarah will use GPS and computerised navigational charts and communications, though the toilet facilities have remained much the same in the 1000 years since the vikings explored Britain’s coastline. Through a documentary film of the expedition, Sarah will explore what it means to be an islander, the viking legacy, place names, and viking connections as she rows past them.
In March and April 2014, the boat will go on display to 200,000 UK students at the inaugural Technopop London pop up festival of science, technology, design, and innovation, in Stratford, London, where the boat will be officially named. For each week of Technopop London, the expedition will be showcased from a different angle, with associated, sponsor-branded educational materials on the themes of ‘Looking Up’, ‘Inspiring Women’, In Touch with technology’, ‘Sports Science and the Human Body’, ‘Celebrating Innovation’, and ‘Easter Family Fun’.
To learn more about Oceans Project or how to get branded educational materials for your business or classroom, please go to www.oceansproject.com