Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Roz Rows the Pacific - Almost to Hawaii

AddThis Feed Button If you haven't heard of Roz Savage, it's only a matter of time... Within a few short days, she will arrive on Waikiki Beach. Roz plans to be the first woman to row across the Pacific. She's very close to reaching Hawaii, which is a huge milestone. There, she plans to bathe in fresh water, wash her hair, get dressed up, and among other luxuries, enjoy a caramel latte. Then, after a few weeks, she'll be on her way to Australia. What's admirable about Roz is her determination and commitment to the environment. But what makes this adventure even more compelling is the way she uses modern technology to communicate with people, young and old, about her adventure -- in real time. My students and I first began following Roz during last year's Pacific-crossing attempt. Although plagued with rough weather and equipment failure which ultimately led to postponing the voyage, she maintained her blog up to the end. Students begged me to check it every day for the latest Roz updates, which were transmitted from her row boat, the Bracade, via satellite. In addition, the more hardcore fans signed up for text-message updates from Roz, sent directly to their phones. Messages ranged in topics from the horrible weather to happier moments: For example, the time she was being escorted by scores of dolphins.

In addition to maintaining a blog and sending text messages, Roz participates in a weekly podcast with Leo Laporte called Roz Rows the Pacific, available on the TWIT network. Audience members can post questions or comments in the chat room, e-mail, Twitter, and by calling into the show. Each episode is recorded live each week, and uploaded as a podcast. Shows can then be downloaded to a variety of devices such as iPods and computers for playback. One memorable moment was when I logged into Leo's chat room during the show. I relayed to Leo that my class of sixth graders are big fans, and that my daughter really loves following Roz. Leo then shared this information with Roz, who then promptly gave a shout out to my sixth graders and even mentioned my daughter by name! When I played that portion of the podcast to the class the next day, my students were beside themselves. Roz's hi-tech row boat is equipped with satellite navigation equipment, including a TomTom GPS. Her location is updated on her website using a BETA version of Marinetrack Event Viewer Console. It's a map that shows her up-to-the-second position. Some of her video clips are also available on for viewing on Youtube.

To follow Roz, visit her website:

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