In recent blog entries we have mentioned our exciting new involvement in the Skype in the classroom program. Skype in the classroom is a FREE and easy way for teachers to open up their classroom. Meet new people, talk to experts, share ideas and create amazing learning experiences with other teachers and guest speakers from around the world. We have partnered with Skype in the classroom to deliver live web based educational programming about what we do here at Squid Acres Kennel. Check out our profile by clicking the link below.
A couple weeks ago we had a trial run with Miss Galagher’s classrom of 8 and 9 year old students in Australia. We shared a little bit of information about Alaskan winters and then got down to some Dog talk. Paige introduced Keetna and she shared what makes the Alaskan Husky such an awesome athlete by showing off her special cold weather adaptations and then Stout took his turn modeling his harness, booties and dog jacket.
Cody then showed off a dogsled and the gear that we use while running dogs on a race or expedition. Paige got all dressed up in her cold weather clothing to show what it takes to keep a musher warm at these cold temperatures. The puppies were all taking a nap on the deck while we were talking with the class and as we started to answer questions the puppies all woke up, so the students got a chance to see what a crazy mob of 7 husky pups is like.. we then took the webcam over to the dogyard where Cody hooked up a small team of dogs to the ATV and took off on a training run. Students seemed to enjoy the connection and so did we.. A success!
So now that we have test ran our program on our satellite internet and computer technology, we see that there are certain limitations. We are at the mercy of the shared access bandwidth of our satellite system and the weather. If too many people are using the system at the same time as us or the weather is bad, then we will have problems with communication. Our test run proved that it works sufficiently enough to get the point across and share something new, first hand and exciting in real-time. The students were able to ask questions and answer our questions and by the excited sounds they made, we know they could see the puppies! The only way it could be better is to have much higher quality satellite equipment and service and that comes with a large price tag. Our eventual goal is to upgrade our home base internet technology and add a BGAN satellite internet system for video chatting from the trail so we can connect while on races or expeditions. In fact, we are working towards an expedition in the spring of 2015 across Arctic Alaska, visiting schools in rural communities and connecting with outside schools via Skype. We are hoping to connect with a sponsor who would be interested in helping with this technology to make this happen.
For you teachers, we will begin to start scheduling for the current school season. Since we are very busy training the dogs we will only be able to a couple classroom visits each week and we will have to limit it to one visit/classroom. We may have some sort of contest for those that have connected with us so that a classroom may get a follow up visit from either Cody during his 36 hour layover in the Yukon Quest or from Paige in Nome after finishing Iditarod. We are still working on those details.
If interested in connecting with us, please send us a message through our contact us page. Include your first, second, and third choice for time between October 1st and April 1st. . We can do one of the lessons we have listed or we can just do a combination of them all to give students an overview.. Please also include your time zone in this message. We are in Alaska time zone which means we are 4 hours after East coast time. We are pretty flexible on times, being that we have been getting up at 3 am to feed the dogs so we can run at 4 am!
See you on Skype!