Planet Ocean, VLIZ’s main educational project, is an online learning platform (only in Dutch - www.planeetzee.be) for youngsters featuring learning modules and class excercises relating to investigation of the coast, seas and oceans. Every year classes can take part in the Planet Ocean competition and win the first prize of a week-long expedition at the coast of northern France.
Planet Ocean’s main aim is to stimulate youngsters and teachers to look at the seas and ocean through a different lens, as many among us only associate the blue part of our planet with summer holidays. Through the website www.planeetzee.be Planet Ocean provides information on marine science and technology, as well as information on various marine scientific professions. Every year new learning modules and components are added.
We invite youngsters who take part in the competition to come up with sustainable solutions and better ways to manage our coast, seas and oceans in the future. Students (age 15-19) can spend a day in a marine research lab to work closely with scientists on a central research question. The competition implies the independent implementation of a scientifically founded research project which focuses on sustainability and research competencies.
In addition, VLIZ makes a great deal of class excercises available via the website. These excercises support the internalisation of the learning content.
Every year VLIZ organises a seminar for teachers to increase their knowledge of marine research. Both the theory and the practice of two learning modules from Planet Ocean are treated each time. The first seminar with regard to the two learning modules ‘marine food webs’ and ‘plastic pollution’ was held on 6 November 2013.
Planet Ocean (earlier version: 2007-2013)
In 2008 the first Planet Ocean website www.planeetzee.org was created. It consists of 23 online learning modules built around a research question. The connecting thread in the website is a sailing trip made by two young people who are confronted with numerous typical problems along the way. The website was created in cooperation with many marine researchers and with the support of the Flemish government within the scope of the Science Communication action plan.
For five years hundreds of classes from across Flanders took part in the competition. The following schools won the first prize, an expedition week with RV Zeeleeuw: St.-Godelievecollege from Gistel (2008), St.-Michielsinstituut from Schoten (2009), KA Pegasus from Ostend (2010), St.-Janscollege from Poperinge (2011) and once again St.-Godelievecollege from Gistel (2012). In 2013 three day trips were won by Koninklijk Atheneum Oostende, St.-Lodewijkscollege from Lokeren and St.-Andreaslyceum from Bruges.