Mike Irvine is Living It!

Mike Irvine

Alumnus Mike Irvine first made waves after he defended his master’s thesis in Curriculum and Instruction underwater and streamed it live on YouTube for the world to see. Through webcams, Irvine is revolutionizing marine education by connecting students directly to ocean life.

Irvine was surprised at the lack of ocean literacy. “When I got into scuba diving, not a lot of people knew what I was talking about, yet we live on an island surrounded by water,” says the Victoria native. This severe lack of marine education inspired Irvine and Maeva Gauthier, a fellow UVic Science student, to create the Fish Eye Project.

“We started at Esquimalt High School. I started to see how receptive the kids were to it. Then we took it live in 2014, reaching three countries. We asked, how can we get this into classrooms? So we expanded and became an education hub for ocean literacy. Over the last three years, we have reached tens of thousands of students throughout Canada and the states.”

But for Mike, the Fish Eye Project is only the beginning. At the end of February 2018, Fish Eye dissolved into a much larger project called Live It. They’ll take the cameras and live streams beyond underwater to get on land as well. “It’s an initiative for nature literacy. Starting with grades 5-9, we’re going to connect kids from all across Canada with experts in real time.”

Their launch will begin with a focus on orcas, salmon, and bears and will work directly with the curriculum to help teachers. “We want to take these vast distances in our country and shrink them down in an online classroom. Many children are far removed from natural ecosystems.” Irvine hopes this will help move the world forward and foster the joy of learning in children.

We’re giving equal opportunity to kids everywhere in the world, starting with Canada first. We want to revolutionize how education is distributed and experienced.

Irvine got the opportunity to go on Canada’s C3 expedition, a 150-day sailing journey through the Northwest Passage. Irvine was invited to attend for two weeks where they did a live, arctic broadcast using satellites. But the highlight of his trip happened when he got to meet face to face with children in Cambridge Bay.

“Sometimes you get so lost in the research, you get disconnected about who it’s for. I get more passionate in that moment as I am talking to the kids and communicating back and forth. Some of the best times are when you’re able to get back in touch.”

The launch of Live It will keep Irvine busy as they have planned 54 live shows and expect to reach over 50,000 students internationally. “It’s going to be nuts for the following year. We’re going to reach so many people.”Irvine has big plans for the future of technology in classrooms. “From sea to space. We’ll take you everywhere you want to go,” he says. He can even deliver it in HD.