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Using ROVs to Engage Youth Education with the Environment

Duncan DeCraemer   |   February 21, 2020

How ROVs are Enhancing Youth Connection to the Environment

Today more than ever technology is changing the way that youth interact with the world around them. Enabling insight and education into areas unseen while promoting more potential learning opportunities than ever before. The subject of underwater education and ocean sciences have seen major changes with the help of Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs).

With the introduction of these underwater robots, educators are finding better ways to connect in-class teachings to their real-world applications. These connections have demonstrated benefits in physical science and environmental stewardship for youth development.

Using ROVs Educators and Students Demonstrate STEM Concepts in Action

A shift can be seen through improvements in education for youth in the realm of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM). An area that historically has had lower expectations for integrative and reflective learning than non-STEM faculties. These results may be attributed to a system which lacks opportunity to use ideas from outside sources. This encompasses diverse perspectives and opportunities to discuss ideas with fellow students.

Schools and educational bodies are aware of this gap and have started using ROVs to link classroom lessons to application. Underwater ROVs have been shown to complement in-class learning on STEM topics such as buoyancy and displacement. Allowing high school and university students to explore these concepts in a group setting where they can share learning and ideas.

These learning sessions often begin with a classroom lesson covering the topics in question. They create the basis for applying theory using the ROV. Once a base point has been made, questions regarding theory in practice should be discussed. These may take the form of asking the classroom questions such as: Under what circumstances should the ROV float? What forces would cause the ROV to sink? What does neutral buoyancy mean? How could we measure the weight of the ROV without a scale?

Such answers will be written and discussed with the class. There should be an opportunity to show differences in understanding from initial thought to after collaboration. The classroom discussion should end with initial ideas written down and space to discuss the results of the guided ROV exploration. The discussed changes to STEM learning relate to the improved ability to express integrated learning through educationally purposeful activities. Such as practical applications for STEM concepts in an active and collaborative environment. Engagement in these areas are known to have a positive impact on learning.

How ROVs Promote Environmental Stewardship Through Discovery and Increased Monitoring

Just as the distance from theory to practice has decreased, so too has the distance from nature and the classroom. These changes can be seen clearly through today's ability to discover new and unexplored areas with the help of technology. In addition better monitoring of the environment for potential hazards and to remedy them accordingly.

In the past most underwater discovery and monitoring was conducted with large dive teams. These were often costly to conduct and would expose the divers to unnecessary risks. This task increased liability and made regular inspections less reasonable. In addition, these ventures would be without audio or visual documentation, making sharing learning difficult.

With the use of ROVs, monitoring and discovery have improved dramatically. Today ROVs allow many companies to own the inspection process and deploy in minutes. This change allows short reaction times and promotes proactive approaches to environmental issues.

Young people today have more chances to enhance study and protection of the environment. One way that ROVs are aiding this is through closer underwater wildlife interaction without human interference.

A common issue with past wildlife studies is how animals adapted their behavior when exposed to human interaction. Making much of the observed data skewed from the onset. With the use of ROVs, educators and researchers can improve the quality of data drawn from these studies. They can also develop better data storage with the use of audio and visual recording. Allowing for data to be easily documented and compared over years of usage.

Another popular modern-day use of ROVs is ensuring adherence to environmental policy. As mentioned, the best way to ensure policy is being met is to monitor it. We know that an affordable solution makes this all the more implementable. ROVs offer an easy and affordable way to monitor water-based operations and allow for more detailed, frequent inspections.

As advancement continues, more applications for underwater ROVs are coming to the fore-front. From search and rescue to oil and gas, underwater ROVs are changing the industrial landscape. If you're interested in seeing how you might use an ROV in your industry to save time and cost please do not hesitate to contact us today.