R&E Networks Virtually Transport K-12 Students to Events Which Created National Anthem
An Interactive Star Spangled Community Collaboration
On the morning of September 12, 1814, Major General Robert Ross, an Anglo-Irish officer in the British army, landed 5,000 troops in Chesapeake Bay and began marching toward Baltimore. Just three weeks earlier, Ross had entered Washington, D.C., unopposed and torched the Capital Building, Treasury, White House and other public buildings. As Ross’s forces approached Baltimore, Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane sailed a fleet of nineteen British warships into Baltimore harbor in preparation for a major naval bombardment of the American ramparts at Fort McHenry. So began one of the most decisive battles of the War of 1812. Two days later, General Ross was dead, felled by an American militia sharpshooter and Francis Scott Key, a Baltimore lawyer and amateur poet, had written the words that would become immortalized in our national anthem.
To celebrate the bicentennial of these historic events, the National Park Service approached Internet2's K20 Initiative, part of Internet2’s U.S. UCAN program, to help develop and support a distance learning program as part of a week long celebration at Fort McHenry. On Tuesday, September 9, 2014, approximately 550 students from six research and education (R&E) network-enabled K-12 schools from around the country (Idaho, Pennsylvania, and Texas) participated in an interactive videoconferencing program live from Fort McHenry.
(Pictured above: Major Armistead discusses the defense of Fort McHenry with students.)
The program featured appearances by Francis Scott Key aboard a tall ship, Major Armistead, commander of Fort McHenry, and other historic re-enactors. Idaho Education Network provided video bridging support and Idaho Public Television, which connects to IRON, Idaho’s R&E network, agreed to stream the event live so students from around the world could tune in.
Hoping to capitalize on this unique and historic opportunity, representatives from the U.S. and United Kingdom collaborated to include a “British” perspective on the War of 1812. Community leaders in General Ross’s home village of Rostrevor in County Down, Northern Ireland gathered local school children and teachers at the Ross Monument where they unfurled a large replica of the star spangled banner given to the community by Fort McHenry a few years prior. A drone flying overhead captured footage from this moving event. (see VIDEO here)
(Pictured above: Rostrevor students celebrate the bi-centennial of the Star Spangled Banner at the Ross Monument in County Down, Northern Ireland.)
The R&E community has arguably developed the fastest and most advanced networks in the world. But performance, capacity, and functionality alone are inadequate metrics of their impact and success. The lasting achievement of these networks is reflected in the diversity of the R&E communities that inhabit them, their capacity to enable an infinitely diverse array of innovative research, collaborations, and experiences that improve and enrich the human condition. Internet2, through the U.S. UCAN program, looks forward to continuing its more than decade long commitment to connecting and convening the broader education community to promote and develop advanced network-enabled projects and learning opportunities. These collaborations and compounding of resources accrue mutual benefit for Internet2 member institutions and community anchor institutions in the United States and around the world.
We invite you to take a journey back in time and experience this largely forgotten but pivotal moment in the history of our country along with the participating students. The full program is now available (watch VIDEO now), and as always, please get in touch if you’d like to learn more and get involved in the work of the U.S. UCAN/K20 Initiative community.