A year ago we started a conversation with Google and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia about the possibility of offering two berths on theAustralasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014 as a prize for Google 4 Doodle. For those not familiar with this competition, Doodle 4 Google is a school contest offered across different countries every two years or so. The challenge for children is to redraw the Google logo inspired by a question or statement. Prizes vary around the world; the top doodles in Australia and New Zealand usually win some fantastic technology for the classroom. This year, Google and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia wanted to do something a bit different: they wanted to bring Antarctica to the school children of Australia and New Zealand as never done before. Besides the technology, the prize would include a berth for the teachers of the winning schools on the expedition and our discoveries would be beamed home using Google+, Hangouts on Air and YouTube. It was dizzying to imagine what we could with this sort of technology and after a (very) brief discussion with co-leader Chris Fogwill, agreed immediately.
Launched in July 2013, the Doodle 4 Google competition for Australia and New Zealand went out with the words ‘If I was an explorer I would…’ The response was tremendous, with record numbers of children from Years 1-10 submitting their entries from across the region. I was privileged to be a judge and amazed at the quality of the doodles. The art was extraordinary. Thanks to the hard working Google staff and other judges we drew up a short list for both countries. The list has now been voted on and the winning entries have just been announced. We’re incredibly excited to announce that the doodle winner for Australia was drawn by Olivia Kong from Hornsby Girls High School (NSW) and in New Zealand by Deyvi Wilton at Papanui Primary School. I know you’ll agree they’re both worthy winners and pass on your very best of congratulations; their works of art are superb. Their teachers Nicole and Kerrie will be joining us on the expedition for departure at the end of the month.
During the expedition, we will also be posting daily reports of our discoveries on +Intrepid Science, the Chris Turney-Intrepid Science YouTube Channel and beaming footage in real time using Hangouts on Air. This will be a first for the Antarctic. Never before have the public been offered a chance to take part in exploration from the comfort of their own home. During the nine scheduled Hangouts on Air (which you can download into your electronic calendar by clicking here) you can join us as we plough our way across the Southern Ocean to Antarctica, working below, on and above ice, sea and land. When we’re online you can ask questions and we’ll do our best to answer them, surrounded by penguins, seals, and in the occasional blizzard and wild sea. It will be incredibly exciting and a lot of fun. We do hope you can join us.