“The trick to teaching is to not let them know they’re learning anything … until it’s too late!”
   …Prof. Harold “Doc” Edgerton, MIT

sitesALIVE K12 Education Goals for Vendée Globe 2016

  • sitesALIVE! has produced 75 live, interactive, semester-long learning adventures since 1990.

    For Vendée Globe 2016 we will offer:
    Teacher’s Guide: (see our newly updated Ocean Challenge Live! – Teacher’s Guide 2016    , fsee 2008-9 version, 15 weeks of classroom activities)
    Topics: Science, Math, Geography, History
    Website: Ship’s Log, Skipper’s Blog, Weekly Essay (by Skipper & Experts), Q&A (with Skipper & Experts), Photos, Audios, Videos

The Vendée Globe is the world’s greatest teaching tool.

The race overflows with science, geography, math, history, with stars, flying fish, whales and birds, with nutrition, sleep deprivation, and physical fitness, with materials science, physics, electronics, satellites and mechanical engineering, with aerodynamics and hydrodynamics, with solar, wind, hydro and fossil fuel energy systems, with risk and isolation, with determination, decision-making, problem-solving, and on and on… The drama of the solo, round-the-world, non-stop event, and its uncertainty of outcome, keep its audience engaged, and once engaged, curricular subjects that are unconvincing in textbooks, become convincing and important.

In Vendée Globe 2008-9, sitesALIVE! had 50 US newspapers publishing our 15 part weekly series jointly written by Rich at sea and our Team of Experts ashore. These Newspaper in Education (NIE) programs marketed the program to teachers locally, and distributed classroom sets of papers to those classes on the day the feature was published. We reached 7 million readers and 250,000 students each week. Additionally, we had schools in a dozen countries following online.

Yet if there was any disappointment in actually finishing this “most grueling and dangerous prolonged competition on the planet” (HBS Bulletin), it was that we know we had specific interest to publish our NIE series in newspapers in over 30 countries around the world. Yet we simply ran out of time to bring them in under contract.

This interest came from: Nigeria, Ghana, Argentina, Singapore, Belgium, South Africa, Norway, Canada, Hungary, Lebanon, Australia, Russia, South Korea, Pakistan, Finland, Colombia, China, UK, Japan, Estonia, Indonesia, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, Portugal, Spain, Cameroon, Sudan, Uganda, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Romania, Venezuela, Brazil & Honduras. Now we have time to bring in this interested global audience.

We did not bill this as a ‘French yacht race’, but as a ‘Live Ocean Expedition’. And as oceans become accepted as a legitimate and important topic of discussion in society, for fisheries depletion, marine pollution, carbon absorption, etc., even non-maritime countries saw the utility of teaching their young students about the oceans. As the Denver Post said for our very first program in 1993 when asked why they, in the mountains, had signed up for our Ocean Challenge Live! program, they said “We’re a thousand miles from the ocean. What better way could there be for our students to learn about the oceans than by connecting to a live ocean expedition.”

The Vendée Globe is a uniquely global event: it actually goes around the world! And what could be better than to have a student in Beijing talking to a student in Buenos Aires talking to a student in Boston talking to a student in Berlin about any of the multitude of topics overflowing from a sailing voyage.

To make a truly global education program, with a global audience, off this uniquely global event – that is our goal.