Ocean 180 is an NSF funded initiative run by COSEE Florida (Florida Center for Ocean Science Excellence). You may know COSEE as the group who graded and recorded every student presentation at the Benthic Ecology Meeting this year (read my post about Benthics here). In short, these guys are awesome. They promote science communication and teaching.
So, what is Ocean 180? I asked Mallory Watson, one of the brains behind both COSEE and Ocean180 to send me some details, and this is what I learned:
The goal of Ocean 180 is to help scientists improve their communication skills. As marine scientists, we all know we are doing some cool stuff, but hoe often is the general public truly informed about what we do? It is part of your job to disseminate information, and this is a great way to do that! Scientists are challenged to condense the findings of one of their recent peer-reviewed publications down into a 3 minute (180 second) video. If that wasn’t tough enough, the world’s harshest critics (middle schoolers) will be evaluating the entries and selecting a winner. Winner will receive a cash prize! Last year 1st place won $3,000, second place received $2,000, and third received $1,000. Not bad for a 3 minute video!
Want to see an example? Here is this year’s honorable mention winner from our friends in the Pawlik lab at UNCW!
Videos from all of the 2014 finalists can be viewed here. They are really great, you should check them out!
Now, how hard is it to condense a paper into a 3 minute video targeted at middle school kids? Pretty hard, but it’s a valuable skill. As a researcher you often need to present to a variety of audiences. Most people don’t want to hear your 50 minute technical lecture, they want to hear the key findings and see some cool videos of pictures of you in the field. Think of this is a kind of recorded elevator speech… except longer and with graphics.
Ocean 180 let me in on a bit of exclusive news…
While the 2015 Challenge has not been promoted yet, it is happening! Scientists have until December 1st, 2014 to get their video’s submitted.
So go shoot some footage and get going on your submission!
I can’t wait to see the winners!
For more information check out ocean180.org