The OECS Commission began distribution of the Ocean Explorer game, designed as an educational tool for primary school students across Member States. The Ocean Explorer game is one of the knowledge products developed under the Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project (CROP).
Ocean Explorer is a highly interactive educational tool. It can be played as two separate tile-laying, trivia games. The games use tiles that depict different parts of the ocean and islands which make-up the OECS. Each game builds knowledge of our ocean ecosystems; how they are used; and threats that result from human activity in our oceans and on land. There are tiles of on-land areas, surface and underwater nearshore or coastal areas; surface and underwater offshore or marine areas; and tiles of threats to coastal and marine ecosystems (surface to seabed). The tiles, explorer guides, flags, maps and tokens, help players navigate through our ocean space and our islands.
Game one is the Deep Blue Expedition while game two is the Island Hopper. The Deep Blue Expedition is a race to the ocean floor. Explorers must correctly answer questions about animals and threats encountered along this journey to the ocean floor. In the Island Hopper, explorers move from one island to the next using maps, flags, trivia questions and tokens as navigational tools. Each game can be played by two to six explorers or teams. Both games benefit from having an independent ‘Expedition Leader’ who could be the teacher or another student. The Expedition Leader must be impartial and keep score.
Ocean Explorer is designed by Callum Badger and illustrated by Adam Boardman. It is produced by The Workshop (a UK-based company) on behalf of the OECS Commission. Students and teachers of three primary schools in Saint Lucia contributed to the Ocean Explorer game. They are Camille Henry Memorial, Mon Du Don Combined, and the Vieux Fort Primary School. The teachers were instrumental in the reformatting of the game to make it tile-based to allow much more flexibility in terms of game modes as well as teaching and learning approaches. Students ‘play tested’ the prototype in the classroom. Other contributors include Saphira Hunt of the Saint Lucia National Trust, and Melissa Harvey Braddick - a student from the UK who did the initial research into the creature cards and drafted the questions for the prototype.
In her brief remarks during a symbolic handing over of the Ocean Explorer game, Permanent Secretary in the Department of Education, Innovation and Gender Relations in Saint Lucia, Michelle Charles said:
“The ocean has played a critical role in shaping the history of our Caribbean archipelago, and it continues to impact our daily lives and contribute to maintaining many livelihoods. Our hope is that the Ocean Explorer game will increase our students knowledge of the ocean and its vast resources. It will help them feel a stronger sense of connection to the ocean, and cause them to develop a greater appreciation of the role of the ocean in our lives as a nation, and as a region.”
A copy of the Ocean Explorer was symbolically handed over to Ms. Charles by Programme Director of the Ocean Governance and Fisheries programme at the OECS Commission, David Robin. Hard copies of Ocean Explorer have been shipped to all English-speaking OECS Member States for distribution to their primary schools.
During the test phase, teachers suggested that a digital version of Ocean Explorer be produced. A digital version of Ocean Explorer is now available for download from the Google Play Store. Ocean Explorer is a self-contained Android app that is available to students, schools, colleges, community groups and the public at large through the Google Play Store. The app encourages users to explore six themed ‘Expeditions.’ Ocean Explorer is fun and competitive, supports individual study and whole class activity.