The challenge

An iconic school excursion just out of reach

Excursions are a fun and engaging way for children to learn new things but sometimes the best exhibitions, museums and attractions are in different cities, states or countries.

The HMB Endeavour is a replica of the iconic ship that Captain James Cook and botanist Joseph Banks sailed to Australia. On this voyage Banks and his counterparts made the first major collection of Australian flora, describing many species new to Western science.

The HMB Endeavour replica at sea  ©John Lancaster

Lucky Sydneysiders can catch a view of the magnificent vessel whenever they please the replica is an Australian icon that some children may never get the chance to experience.

On board the ship, you get a glimpse into the sailor's life during one of history's greatest maritime adventures. Until recently, this was only possible by visiting the HMB Endeavour in person.

Our response

Students tour the vessel digitally from the classroom

Thanks to our technological know-how, students can explore attractions, like the HMB Endeavour, using an advanced immersive learning environment from their home or classroom.

Panoramic cameras installed throughout the ship, cleverly hidden as eighteenth century lanterns, allow students to take a live tour of the ship and control what they see as they embark on their educational expedition.

A museum educator uses a tablet computer to show students around the vessel and interacts with them as the tour is conducted. The guide can ask the students questions and they can respond instantly making the virtual tour as much like a real school excursion as possible.

The virtual visitors can zoom in to explore the specimens that Banks collected, learn about pulley systems and discover how the sailors avoided scurvy by keeping up their vitamins with sauerkraut.

By making the HMB Endeavour available digitally, the Australian National Maritime Museum can now offer a rich and real-life learning environment to help children learn about this historically and scientifically significant vessel.

[Music plays and text appears:  Exploring the science of the HMB Endeavour from the classroom]

[Image shows ships in harbour with the text HMB Endeavour, Darling Harbour, Sydney]

[Images show various close ups of HMB Endeavour]

[Image shows high school students walking down hallway and into classroom.  Text appears:  Kenmore State High School, Brisbane]

[Image shows close up of female school student]

Female student:  Today was actually really, really fun.

[Image changes to show different female school student]

Female student:  Our class went in and we did a tour of the Endeavour, a replica.

[Images flash through educator on board HMB Endeavour holding an iPad, school students sitting at a desk in front of a laptop, close up of male school student]

Male student:  It was all live, there was a tour guide there showing us around.  We could see her and from our laptops we could control what we were looking at.

 [Image shows female school student]

Female student:  She took us around, asked us questions. 

[Image changes to show different female school student]

Female student:  And then she could turn around the tablet and focus it on different things and so we could zoom in a bit more. 

[Image shows inside of HMB Endeavour]

[Image changes to show Dennis Frousheger, CSIRO] 

Dennis Frousheger:  The Panomersive system is a system to enable people to do remote tours of the Endeavour. 

[Image shows educator using iPad as a camera] 

So it uses panoramic cameras that enable the remote visitors to look all around them while at the same time the educator who’s leading their experience has an iPad that enables them to directly talk to the visitors and interact with the visitors.

[Image shows Anne Doran, Education Officer, Australian National Maritime Museum] 

Anne Doran:  Some of the cool things about this project is the fact that not every person feels comfortable going below.

[Image shows school students sitting at desk in front of laptop] 

But also that fact that some people live a long way away from Sydney, not everybody lives in Sydney.

[Image shows Dennis Frousheger, CSIRO] 

[Images flash through various views of HMB Endeavour with educator holding iPad and talking to some students via video]

Dennis Frousheger:  One of the strengths of the system is really the interactivity between the educator and the students.  They can see the educator and the educator can see and hear them.  They can look around, look around themselves like they would when they’re actually here on the ship while at the same time hearing and talking to the educator. 

[Image shows Anne Doran, Education Officer, Australian National Maritime Museum inside HMB Endeavour using iPad to talk to students via video]

Anne Doran:  Being able to ask them questions and have that immediate feedback yes they are listening or they can actually answer the questions straight away means that I know that the students are actually engaged in the lesson. 

[Images flash through various views of HMB Endeavour] 

Basically we’re sitting on a replica of an 18th century ship.  First thing I’m going to show you, and you may be able to see it on your Panomersive camera, is the ship’s bell.

[Image shows school students sitting at desk in front of laptop] 

Female student:  We wanted to know if the replica does actual trips?

[Image shows Anne Doran walking around inside HMB Endeavour with iPad] 

Anne Doran:  Yes it does and we’re actually coming to Brisbane in October.

[Image shows male school student] 

Male student:  It was an amazing experience really, I’ve never really seen anything like this before.

[Image shows female school student] 

Female student:  She’d be like oh and if you look over here, and then you could actually look over there, it was like actually being on the ship.

[Image shows Anne Doran, Education Officer, Australian National Maritime Museum on board HMB Endeavour] 

[Images flash through various views of HMB Endeavour]

Anne Doran:  Being a national museum based in Sydney means that we need to actually look at stories from all around Australia and we need to share those stories with people from all around Australia.  So this is a fantastic way of sharing this wonderful ship with people from all across Australia and potentially even internationally. 

[Image shows Dennis Frousheger, CSIRO]

Dennis Frousheger:  It enables people who don’t have the means, the financial means, the physical means, to do an excursion of the Endeavour to come here and do it in a way that they couldn’t have done in the past. 

[Image shows male school student]

Male student:  I learned about where they stored the food and how they stored the food. 

[Image shows female school student]

Female student:  The people on board had to work really hard, they had to have sauerkraut just to keep up their vitamin c. 

[Image shows female school student]

Female student:  I learn really well when I’m interacting and doing things.

[Image shows school students sitting at desks in front of laptops] 

[Image changes to female school student]

Female student:  I think it was so much better than having just a normal lesson because having the technology to actually see it it was so much easier to engage. 

[Image changes to show different female school student]

Female student:  And it was like having a lesson, like an excursion on the ship. 

[Music plays while images flash through of students in front of laptop, inside views of the HMB Endeavour, educator on board HMB Endeavour]

[Logos appear on screen: Australian Government Department of Communication, IntoScience, 3P Learning and CSIRO] 

[CSIRO logo appears on screen with the words Big ideas start here,]

Students take a virtual tour of the Endeavour

The results

Welcoming more students onboard

Bookings for excursions are now open and the Australian National Maritime Museum is pleased to be able to share the ship with students from all across Australia and potentially the world.

This technology solution is a great alternative for schools in remote areas where excursion options are limited and to bring iconic attractions like the HMB Endeavour to students, no matter where they live.

Visit the museum’s website for more information, including how to book.

This project was funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Communications and the Arts.

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