Opportunity to provide students with real time and future access to firsthand accounts of climate change and its cultural impact in a visually rich environment
To allow students and the general public to follow and participate remotely in arctic expeditions with a focus on the sharing of cultural and scientific knowledge
Context: University of Minnesota/Geography and Climate Science in School and Higher Education.
Program: The mission of North of Sixty° is to create a global tapestry of climate stories, weaving together the history and culture of Arctic communities worldwide and preserving the voices and ecological knowledge of generations. The goal is to collaborate with classrooms in Arctic regions north of 60 degrees latitude, assisting students in the collection and dissemination of these stories. Specifically, the project set out to:
Create a global tapestry of Arctic climate stories
Educate the world about the Arctic and climate change through personal lenses even as students share their community with the world
Preserve the stories of elders, knowledge keepers, and others
Encourage collaboration and community building among students
Provide students with an online venue to share and document living history
Support and strengthen students’ 21st century skills as they learn new technologies
In capturing and sharing stories from their community, students contribute not only to a tapestry of world knowledge about the Arctic, but also enhance the scientific knowledge about climate change by sharing the human, or social sciences, impact beyond the scientific data and the known impacts to the natural world. The project is initially collaborating with a handful of schools, located in Finland, Norway, Russia, Canada, and the United States, and representing a cross-section of Arctic regions and cultures. Six schools were invited to participate in the project initially, and additional schools will be invited down the line. In addition to an area to upload, share, and comment on project-related stories, the online learning environment includes a project overview; an introduction to each of the schools and communities that have been invited to participate in the project; and an overview of the project team and the ongoing North of Sixty° expeditions. The online environment is open to the public, who are also able to view and comment on the shared stories
The widespread international uptake of this learning environment and its associated resources within schools attests to the unique niche filled by this learning environment.
The project team have now branched out from the initial focus on climate change and the arctic to the application of adventure learning pedagogies within expeditions focussing on environmental and cultural sustainability across North America, South America, Africa, Northern Europe and Australasia (see http://lt.umn.edu/earthducation/ )