Nexus with NASA
Broughton students go on-line with southern schools and NASA

by Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

BROUGHTON ISLAND (Oct 13/97) - Three high schools and an America submarine located in the Florida Keys linked up via satellite to Broughton Island last Sept. 26 to 29 in a distance-education experiment.

"This was the first communication link ever between a seafloor and North of the Arctic Circle," said Tia Kuniliusi, an adult educator with Arctic College in Broughton.

Called the Nexus Project -- Bridging Communication, students from an American Montessori school and the Grenville Christian school in Brockville physically visited Inuksuit school in Broughton, where they experimented with distance education communication equipment similar to that used by NASA astronauts.

In fact, astronauts and scientists on board an American submarine in Florida compiled results from the Nexus project and talked with students about space travel.

"It opened up some eyes on both sides," said Kuniliusi.

"It's an experience you can't get in a classroom,"

Kuniliusi said this was the first time this type of digital communication equipment has been used North of the Arctic Circle.

And it all worked without a hitch.

"It took minimum equipment, a telephone and modem really. It was just wonderful," she said. "Communication was just crystal clear."

Kuniliusi, who is also Manager of Tikaluyak Outfitting, the company that helped set up the project in the community, chose two students, Arctic College student Gideonie Keyootak an Arctic Grade 12 student Seepoola Arnaquq to participate in the exercise.

"It was a delight, but I guess the most exciting thing was talking to the people in the underwater habitat near Florida," Arnaquq, 18.

When the southern students arrived in the community they instantly began taking pictures of houses, people, snowmobiles and of the DEW Line station with a digital camera.

They then sent the photos over the Internet to the two participating schools and NASA's sub-station.

While on-line, the two Inuk students also answered questions asked by other students about their culture and environment.

"I talked to a couple of students, they were asking some questions that were kind of stupid. One person asked if we were still living in igloos," Arnaquq said.