Monday, October 25, 2021

SeaWorld Uses Internet Video Chat to Bring Killer Whales Into the Classroom

PHOTOS courtesy SeaWorld Entertainment

Orlando, FL, USA —  Whether they live in snowy Detroit or land-locked Atlanta, students all over the world who want to learn about killer whales, or orcas, can now get up close to them right inside their classrooms.

SeaWorld Orlando has launched a live video call program – free for teachers – that allows classes to dive into marine mammal biology, questions, and careers in a new way.  This virtual field trip, available on Skype and Google Hangouts, is a 30-minute live, interactive call and Q & A session featuring SeaWorld’s trainers and whales. The program topics are customizable for elementary, middle school, high school and university levels.

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Since launching the pilot program last year, SeaWorld educators and trainers have hosted 30 live video sessions and were recently recognized by the International Marine Animal Trainer Association (IMATA) with two awards: The “Outernet Technology Award” recognizing outstanding use of technology, and the “Education Conservation Award.”

“We know students are fascinated by, and have questions about, marine mammals, especially whales. Video conferencing directly with our trainers, seeing the whales interacting up close and in real time, is a chance for them to learn about and engage with these animals in a way not possible through a textbook or movie, to get accurate information firsthand from animal experts,” said SeaWorld’s director of education Judy Jenkins.

“Today’s students are masterful at applying technology to advance their studies. Using these tools to visually interact with someone a thousand miles away has become second nature to this generation, and provides educators the opportunity to activate and enliven their curriculum in a fun, meaningful way.”

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How does it work?

*SeaWorld’s education team works one-on-one with each teacher to tailor the chat to their curriculum and the students’ ages.

*The interactive sessions are led by trainers, poolside with the whales, and cover topics including: physiology, behavior and communication; positive reinforcement animal training techniques; scientific insights learned by studying orcas at SeaWorld that can help whales in the wild.

*Following the interactive session, the floor is open for students to ask the experts any questions they have about the animals, their care, or the trainers.

Teachers interested in SeaWorld’s free live video call sessions can sign up at  SeaWorldOrlando.com/Education.

Joe Kleimanhttp://www.themedreality.com
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe has been News Editor and contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, and MiceChat. His blog, ThemedReality.com takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @themedreality Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his fiancé, two dogs, and a ghost.

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