[Coral-List] Utilization of the internet to educate the public about coral reefs
emilyvux at ufl.edu
Thu Aug 7 13:12:48 EDT 2008
Recent posts about you tube have made me start thinking about the
power of the internet to spread coral reef awareness. Recent CNN
articles about "armchair astronomers"
tell about the Galaxy Zoo project, launched last year by Yale
University astrophysicist Kevin Schawinski and Chris Lintott at
the University of Oxford in England (http://www.galaxyzoo.org/).
The project invited volunteers from around the world to help
categorize galaxies from the comfort of their own home after
viewing a brief online tutorial. Last year, 150,000 people
submitted over 50 million classifications.
"We were overwhelmed by the response. It completely melted the
server," Schawinski told CNN. "People tell us it's addictive. Some
of [the volunteers] are professional astronomers, but most of them
are not. They're just regular people who got excited about the
Why do I wish to draw your attention to this? More and more people
are using the internet to learn about new subjects and connect to
the world around them. Public service announcements and news paper
articles certainly get our message out, but if we want the public
to truly connect to the mission of saving the world's coral reefs,
we should invite them to get involved, on a personal level.
Organizations like Reef Check have already recognized this, but
for those people who are unable to dive, visit, or even see coral
reefs we should provide an online option that would let them get
involved. So many people are internet savvy nowadays and would
prefer to spend their time surfing the web making a difference
(you can see this through the success of sites like
www.goodsearch.com). Why not provide them with an opportunity to
surf (the virtual wave) and save coral reefs?
As for using you tube to post videos from ICRS, I think you'd be
surprised at the wide range of videos that people watch on that
site. Students alone are used to watching classes online: watching
ICRS talks would not be that big of a difference. If they were
posted, as well, professors and educators could integrate them
into their lectures and classroom lesson plans. If we wish to be
successful in our mission of educating the public, we should
utilize all mediums that are currently available.
Undergraduate, Department of Zoology, University of Florida
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