GCI to Connect Classrooms to Killer Whales

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Distance learning event allows students to virtually travel to Washington State Park on San Juan Island

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“Reliable broadband access is challenging within the San Juan Islands and for this to be successful, connectivity was key,” said Dr. Pam Lloyd, vice president of GCI Education.

GCI, a leading managed technology service provider, today announced that it will help connect students in grades 3-5 throughout the U.S. to orcas that frequent the waters near Washington’s Lime Kiln Point State Park through an interactive distance learning event. Classrooms will be able to participate by using video conferencing equipment or a desktop/laptop connected to a projector for a live, interactive experience. GCI will use its satellite-based mobile classroom, which enables connectivity in remote areas, to support the sessions which will be held May 23, 24 and 25, 2016.

“Reliable broadband access is challenging within the San Juan Islands and for this to be successful, connectivity was key,” said Dr. Pam Lloyd, vice president of GCI Education. “Distance learning technology offers students the opportunity to visit places they never thought possible and we are excited to help bring the Pacific Northwest whale migration into classrooms.”

During this event, put together by the Washington Parks Foundation, Inspired Classrooms and Killer Whale Tales, an environmental education program, students will virtually travel to Washington’s Lime Kiln Point State Park on San Juan Island to whale watch, see biologists hard at work, and participate in a park tour. Researcher and Executive Director of Killer Whale Tales, Jeff Hogan, will engage students in orca identification and research including:

  • the four specific criteria that whale researchers use to identify individual whales
  • why tracking individual whales, and therefore identification, is an important part of whale research.

Students will participate in a hands-on/minds-on activity where they will experience what it is like to communicate using only sound. Students will also identify different orca pods based on recordings.

“Lime Kiln state park is one of the best places in the world to view whales and we are thrilled to have our students participate virtually,” said Phillip Johnson, director of AKTEACH at Kodiak Island Borough School District (KIBSD). “GCI has a long history of bridging geographic barriers through distance learning and its suite of technology solutions for schools throughout the state of Alaska and beyond, including in Kodiak.”

Participating is free and classrooms interested can register here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/15S-7V-UdtG4ya_XGOw7WTTr49B4qXnzfMtMHdfdSnC4/viewform. The event will also be broadcast live. Inspired Classroom, an interactive distance learning company, will record the content and provide it to classrooms around the globe.

About GCI
GCI delivers communication and technology services in the consumer and business markets. Headquartered in Alaska with additional locations in the U.S., GCI has delivered services for more than 35 years to some of the most remote communities and in some of the most challenging conditions in North America. Learn more about GCI at http://www.gcibusiness.com/

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Holly Zuluaga
RH Strategic
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