OCEANDOTCOMM 2018 by Lisa Tossey


I'm still processing the whirlwind that was this unique event, but that's the one word that comes to mind when I start reflecting on the experience. What was OCEANDOTCOMM exactly? It was a diverse gathering of writers, photographers, educators, podcasters, artists, storytellers, poets, and producers who all share a love of science - marine science in particular.

WHEREAS, Lisa Tossey is deemed to be of sound mind and body; and

WHEREAS, Lisa Tossey is considered by peers to be of the utmost creative character and willing to generously give of this creativity; and

WHEREAS, Lisa Tossey is possessed of vital expertise in social media, science communication, and various other abilities—potentially of the supernatural variety; and

WHEREAS, Lisa Tossey agrees to further join a league of like skilled persons contributing to the greater good;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Craig R. McClain, Executive Director of LUMCON, with the strong support of the selection committee, two alligators, and a resident pelican, do hereby proclaim that Lisa Tossey is

— My official invite

We were all gathered on the Gulf Coast by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) for four days to "tell a story like one has never been told before."  Once there, we were given a theme - "Coastal Optimism" - provided with an incredible array of experts and experiences, and encouraged to collaborate and create. And that we did. An amazing mix of 27 projects (and counting) were launched within those four days - some were completed, some are works-in-progress, and some are longer term, but the variety blew me away. I'm looking forward to sharing many of them soon via social media once they're finalized! 

I'm still working through a lot of the footage and audio I collected while down there, but here's a peek at the start of two of the projects I worked on:

The first was a collaborative effort with Jason Robertshaw (Mote Marine Laboratory), Lali DeRosier (K12 science teacher), and Alexander Havens (Alaska SeaLife Center). We worked together to create a BreakoutEDU game for LUMCON's education team to use. Breakout EDU is an immersive learning games platform that lets educators turn a classroom into an "escape room" and facilitate games where players use teamwork and critical thinking to solve a series of challenging puzzles in order to open the locked box. 

We completed a beta version of the game that we were able to test with three groups at OCEANDOTCOMM, which worked well. We are now fine-tuning it and aligning it to education standards before sharing it publically on the BreakoutEDU platform. 

Here are a few pieces and glimpses of the game. This video shows the opening sequence, a few "hint" videos we created, and several time lapse sequences of our development and testing process: 

These are a few graphic pieces I created and designed for the game - a fact sheet that is used to open one of the locks and a token that is used throughout:

I also started an educational 360, immersive tour to test some features of an Insta360 camera and the ThingLink platform. This final 360 tour will focus on several "defense systems" of the Louisiana coast, including levees, marshes, and barrier islands. The brief tour below served as a test for various types of file embeds, linking scenes together, and voiceover insertion. Stay tuned for more! 

This post was created from OCEANDOTCOMM and supported by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON).

OceansOnline - Leading a discussion on digital storytelling at the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress in Newfoundland by Lisa Tossey

I was thrilled to be invited to the OceansOnline conference, which was held in conjunction with the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress in St. John's, Newfoundland in August. I led a discussion on Incorporating digital storytelling in marine science outreach and communication, and spoke about my current work with Delaware Sea Grant, including Project VIDEO, our joint work with the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations

We had an enthusiastic group for our discussion! 

We had an enthusiastic group for our discussion! 

We touched on everything from social media platforms, to using images and video in outreach efforts, to embracing new technologies such as virtual reality. 

Here are a few ideas and tips from the session that I pulled together after the session for the newsletter of Marine Ecosystems and Management (MEAM):

  • When it comes to social media, you don’t have to do it all! Take some time to “lurk” on various platforms to see how they’re used and what audiences tend to use them, then experiment on a few to see what might be the best fit for your field or organization.
  • Social media isn’t a one-way street – that’s why “social” is in its name! Don’t just use it to push out information – engage with other users and your followers, share information that’s relevant to your field or community, and have fun with it!
  • Images are truly worth 1,000 words online. Images drive engagement and an eye-catching photo, animated gif, or video clip can serve as a great “hook” to grab users’ attention in a sea of social media posts. Photos showing action, hands-on activities, or a detailed view of a critter or landscape can be particularly effective.
  • Post with purpose. You should always be able to connect your social media posts, whether they are a photo, link, or shared information, back to your work or organization’s mission. This helps to build your reputation as a trusted resource in your field.
  • Short format videos that are popular on platforms like Instagram are perfect vehicles for bite-sized, sharable science pieces. Use them to share fun “Did you know…” facts, highlight specific areas of work or critters being studied, or show scientific techniques.
  • And most importantly – don’t be afraid to experiment online. Try something new, assess how it works, tweak your approach if necessary, and try again!

If you’re interested in learning more about this, my Prezi presentation from the session is full of examples >> 


Hulls, Hops, and Horseshoe Crabs by Lisa Tossey

I'm excited to get back to blog posting after Posterous broke my heart ... I'll start with this little highlight video I shot with my GoPro during a fun day with folks from the Mid-Atlantic Marine Education Association (MAMEA)

On Saturday, June 8, educators from throughout the region came to Milton, Del., for “Hulls, Hops, and Horseshoe crabs” a MAMEA mini-conference organized by Christopher Petrone, education specialist at Delaware Sea Grant.

Participants took part in a guided paddle on the Broadkill River, enjoyed a tour of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery that highlighted the science and art of brewing beer, and participated in an evening horseshoe crab spawning survey along the shore of the Delaware Bay.