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Crew will share its travels with schools

For the latest leg of the Hokule’a’s worldwide sail, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser will “adopt” James Campbell High School in Ewa Beach — a way to share the upcoming monthlong canoe journey across New Zealand’s North Island as vividly as possible with students back on Oahu.

About 20 schools are expected to be adopted by crew members on this leg.

Crew members typically visit classes in person before they depart, then lead discussions via Google Hangout during the sail, and then continue to work with the students afterward on projects that tie in to the themes of the global voyage.

Also during this leg, Polynesian Voyaging Society education volunteers hope to conduct live “virtual field trips” for students back home as the crews visit significant places on North Island, such as its ancient kauri tree forests.

The program further aims to chronicle how Polynesian Voyaging Society officials look to share their adventures sailing with thousands of students back home, using communications technology that wasn’t available in the earlier decades of Hokule’a’s history.

Crew members participating in the worldwide voyage so far have adopted 79 schools and groups, and they’ve held 17 Google “Hangouts” — the live discussions with students over the Internet — and 22 satellite phone calls with the kids, society officials report.

Hokule’a and its sister canoe, Hikianalia, have largely relied on a satellite dish feed aboard Hikianalia. Getting the new connection to work as planned, live from the deck of the two canoes, has been a work in progress so far but officials say they’re working out the kinks.

Nonetheless, the crews report they’ve reached some 12,000 students and community members during their outreach efforts in ports across the Pacific since leaving Hawaii waters in May.

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