Concept | Website Overview | Classroom Description | Project Ideas | Class Outline | Skills Taught | Destinations, Itinerary & Dates | Who We Are | Technology | Bricks & Mortar | Panel of Experts | Thanks | Links | Why O2B Explorers?


"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of humans and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
Mark Twain,
Innocents Abroad

Beginning in the summer of the year 2000, we will begin exploring the world.  Through web-based technology, children will be able to actively participate in our world travels.  We will bring with us the technology needed to keep in touch with the children, and will update the O2B Explorers website each week.  The website includes journal entries, pictures, and weekly projects.  Participating children can send questions and ideas to the Explorers in the field, and help guide their trip.  Through this weekly interaction, the children will learn about the world, gain respect for cultural differences, and broaden their horizons.

We want to help children become excited about the world.  When they are excited, they will learn.  When they learn, they will respect others.  When they respect others, they will be better citizens.  When our children are better citizens, our world will be a better place.


Website Overview

The O2B website is made up of six main sections.  

The Classroom contains fun educational activities for children.  

The Journal is updated by the Explorers as they travel and contains pictures and stories from the field.  

Photos allows users to view photos sorted by people, places and things.  

Track Us is a quick reference map that shows where the Explorers are currently located.  

Country Pages contain background information on each country that the Explorers expect to visit.  After the Explorers have visited a particular country, the Country Page can be used as a quick reference containing all of that country's pictures, journal entries and projects.  

Fun Stuff contains top ten lists from the Explorers and other cool stuff.  


After logging on to O2B, users can track our travels, read our journal entries, and view our pictures.  In addition, for children or classes that want to become more involved in our travels, O2B includes projects that encourage children to learn about people, places and things in our world while developing valuable skills.  The Classroom Projects are intended for children in 3rd through 8th grade.  However, anyone is welcome to participate!

Our goal is to update the website with new journal entries and photos at least once a week as we travel.  However, we will be somewhat dependant on the technology that we encounter along the way.  If we anticipate being in a location that will make the upload/download process difficult or impossible, we will notify the registered users ahead of time.  


Classroom Description

To participate in the O2B Classroom, children or classes must first be registered users.  To register, simply complete the online registration information.

The O2B Classroom is the site's learning hub, and contains a number of activities for children.  This section contains Projects, the Explorer Challenge, the Travel Agency, What in the World is This, the Explorer Chat and the Explorer Decoder.

What happens in each individual classroom is up to you!  If individual children have ten minutes a day to use the computer, they can log on, learn the Fact of the Day, and try to improve their score in the Explorer Challenge.  If groups of students want to work together, they can pick out a project.  If a class wants to spend one hour on the project, that is fine.  If the class wants to spend the entire week, that’s even better!  This flexibility allows O2B Explorers to be incorporated into the classroom in a variety of ways.

The Classroom Projects ask questions for the children to answer, but those questions are meant to be guidelines, suggestions, springing off points for them to explore.  We do not intend for the projects to be strictly followed – if the students become captivated by an idea, a place, a person or a certain thing, we want them to run with it!  Tangents and expansions of the topic are both welcomed and encouraged.  We want children to be captivated by the world!

If you have suggestions about how O2B Explorers can be used by classes and after-school programs, please let us know!

Sample Project Ideas


We are going to meet with ____ (school children, a police officer, a restaurant owner, a hammock maker, a family, etc.). Send us your interview questions!

We are going to meet with ____ (a famous person or a government leader). Research that person/job and send us your interview questions!

We are in _______. Who would you like for us to interview?

It could be something general like "talk with someone who knows about traditional medicine." Research the issue and suggest questions.

Or it could be something specific like "talk with Nelson Mandela."

Help us make an appointment to meet with that person. Write him/her a letter and ask if they would be able to meet with us.

Research the person and suggest interview questions.

We met with a group of children in _____. They would like to be your pen pals! You can write to each other by....

Live chat!

We will have a live chat from ____ and you can ask us questions!

We will be in _______ (a classroom or with some other person) and we can have a live chat.


Help us with our trip! Our next destination is ______.

Getting There

How should we get there? (plane, train, bus, rent a car, etc.)

What route should we take?

What should we expect along the way? What is the terrain like along that route? Is travel safe in that area? Will it be fast or slow-going?

Are there any places that we should stop at along the way?

How much will it cost to get there? (in the local currency and in U.S. dollars).

The Basics Once We’re There

Where should we stay? Are there any vacancies? Will it be difficult to find a vacancy?

Help us plan a budget for our stay in ____.

How much will our accommodations cost? How much will our food cost? What else can we expect to spend money on? Plan the budget in the local currency and in U.S. dollars.

Where should we eat? What foods should we try? What is the food like there?


What is the history of that country/city/region?

What is the culture like there? Describe some of the traditions.

What is the political structure? Who governs the country?

What is the climate like there? Will it be hot or cold? Is it rainy or snowy?

What is the terrain like there? Is it hilly or flat? Is it wet or more like a desert? Is it near water?


What events are going on while we are there? Are there any festivals?

What are the some of the sites that we should see? Describe each site -- the history, the meaning. What makes it unique? When should we go? What will we do once we are there?

Are there any people here that we should try to meet?

Our next stop will be either _____ or _____. Which one do you think we should go to next?

Which sounds like the most fun? Are there any special events going on in one of the two places? Is the climate better in one of the places this time of year? Which is easier to get to from where we are now? Which one will keep us on budget?

Right now we are located in _____. Where should we go from here? Why?

We have just arrived in __________.

What should we do while we are here? Are there any special events that we should see? Are there any museums that we should visit? Are there any famous sites we should see? Are there any natural wonders?

What food should we try? Are there any restaurants that you would recommend?

Are there any people that we should try to talk with?

We are in ________. We would like to describe it to you. Let us know what you would like to know!

We have just arrived in _________.

Find us on the map.

How far did we travel? (In kilometers and miles)

What is our Latitude? Longitude?

What time zone are we in? What time is it now where you are? Where we are? How many hours apart are we?

How far away from you are we? (In kilometers and miles)


We have just attended a traditional ceremony.... (description).

Have you ever been to a ceremony like that? Do we have any ceremonies like that in our culture?

Recreate the traditional ceremony.

The people wore....

They played music like this....

The leader did this....

The food was like this....


We just learned this song. Here are the words and the meaning of the words. The music sounded like this. Can you perform that song?

The people here speak ______ language. Here are some phrases for you to learn.

We just arrived in _____________. What language do they speak here? Tell us how to say the following phrases:

We just ate this traditional meal. Would you like to try it? The recipe is....

Scavenger hunt

Send us on a scavenger hunt! We are in ________. What would you like for us to find? Research the area and let us know what you would like to see. Are there any plants or animals or foods or other things here that you want to see but never have? Create a list and we will go on a scavenger hunt and show you the pictures next week!

Let’s do a scavenger hunt together. Create a list (or we provide a list) of items that exist in your hometown that also may exist here. We’ll each go on a scavenger hunt and take pictures of the items and compare notes next week. For example, do candy bars look the same in both places? How about Coke cans? What does a coin that is the smallest in size look like? What does a coin that is the smallest in amount look like?


Skills Taught

Through O2B Explorers, we hope to engage each child by exploring the wonders of the world. Our goal will be to teach children that learning can actually be fun! Through this learning process, children will learn to understand and respect the world we live in.

In addition, by participating in our weekly projects, children will learn a variety of other skills.


Learn where the continents, countries and cities are located.

Learn where the boundaries are between countries, and learn whether they are natural or political boundaries.

Learn about time zone changes.

Learn to measure the distance between places.

Learn about terrain and the climate.

Learn directions.

Learn how to measure latitude and longitude.

Learn how to find a location on the map.


Learn about different currencies, the relative value of those currencies, and how to convert those amounts into U.S. dollars.

Learn how to calculate distances.

Learn how to use the metric system and convert to that system.

Learn how to make a budget.


Learn about the many different languages and dialects that exist on our planet.

Learn where various languages are spoken.

Learn a few key words and phrases in each language.

Research skills

Learn to use the internet and associated technology.

Learn how to research information on the internet or at the library.

Learn how to gather information through interviews.


Learn how to prepare a written response to each project.

Learn how to follow written directions.


Learn how to work together to accomplish a goal.

Social skills

Learn how to interview someone they don’t know.

Learn how to ask adults for help.

Learn cultural differences in social skills.


Learn about their own area of expertise and learn to respect the expertise of others.


Learn to create questions and find the answers.

Learn about the wonders of the world.


Learn that they have the ability to answer many questions by themselves.


Classroom Outline 

These are some of the educational topics that we'd like to cover during our time in a country.  This list is certainly not all inclusive, but it does reflect a minimum level of educational value that we intend to take from a country.  By preparing these outlines, we hope to give viewers a general understanding of the topics we'll cover.   We hope that combining our sense of adventure with the flexibility that we've built into our trip itinerary will enhance the potential educational value of this site.  We will explore the topics below, and we will introduce new and surprising topics at every opportunity.  It should also be noted that the timelines for visiting a country should only be used as guidelines.  O2B Explorers may spend more or less time in a country than is listed.

Select a Country from the drop down menu below to see the outline.

Sample Outline


Trip Destinations & Itinerary

The Explorers do not have a specific itinerary.  Instead, we want to keep our itinerary flexible so that we can pick destinations as we go based on interesting sites and events, and based on input from participating children.  Therefore, we will make minimal arrangements ahead of time.  In general, we expect to travel through Central America, South America, Western Europe, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands.  We have researched 79 countries, and hope to travel to each one of them!

Part of our travel will be dictated by fun and curiosity.  However, we also will plan some work as well.  We will contact various agencies and non-governmental organizations to line up specific work.  We may be able to help monitor a democratic election, teach various skills to children and adults, or any number of other odd jobs that will make a contribution to the regions that we visit.  All along the way we will include children in our experiences.  As a result, children will learn about fun events as well as professional experiences.

Who We Are

Prior to his career as an Explorer, Todd McCray was a consultant for The Coca-Cola Company in the Information Technology Department.  He graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Computer Information Sciences and a M.B.A. in finance and entrepreneurship.  After graduate school, Todd worked as a consultant for Ernst & Young, LLP and then as a project manager for Imnet Systems.  While at the University of Florida, Todd played baseball, and went on to play professional baseball in the California Angels’ organization.

Kristi Sherrard McCray is an attorney who practiced law in Atlanta, Georgia, primarily representing plaintiffs in employment discrimination and civil rights litigation.  She graduated from Emory University School of Law.  While a law student, Kristi worked as an intern at The Carter Center in their Human Rights Program and as a law clerk for the ACLU of Georgia.  Prior to law school, Kristi earned her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Florida in cultural anthropology.


Technology needed to access this site: 

No extraordinary requirements are needed to access the site.  The web page and all of its features are just like any other web page and can be viewed by either Netscape or Internet Explorer (Microsoft) browsers.  For best results, it is recommended that you use at least Internet Explorer 5.x to browse this website.  To get IE 5.x, click here.

Standard Internet access (dialup modem or broadband)
Standard PC or Mac
Standard monitor (page designed for desktop size of 800x600)
All images are JPEG compression and can be viewed by a browser

In addition to the basic text and photos, we occasionally will include movies and teleconferencing on our site.  Although these activities are certainly not necessary to participate in O2B Explorers, it will be possible with the following technology:

Standard Microsoft media viewer
A standard web cam must be used for teleconferencing

We have used the following technology to build and maintain this site:

All digital images are captured by a Kodak DC 280 (The images are captured in a high resolution 2.1 mega pixel format and scaled down to 640x480 for viewing on the site.)

The website was built using the Microsoft FrontPage 2000.

The mobile computing device is a Sony Picture book PCG-C1XE.  This device is a Windows 98 machine, Pentium II, 266 mhz, 8.1 gb hard drive, 64 mb ram with a 400k pixel CCD built into the monitor for still images and full motion video.  This device is only available in this country via

World Internet access will be obtained via America Online with GRU Net as our local ISP using

Click here to see sample audio sample 1, audio sample 2. (Get the latest version of Windows Media Player here.)



This section is the most important of all because without the names below none of this would have been possible:

John Carmean (O2B Kids) - Logo design and graphic art
Dave Wood (Headmaster) - Educational consultation
Tom Redmon (Executive Director SAIS) - Educational consultation
Stanford, Fagan & Giolitto - Backpacks
Marc Hannah - Site design and programming
Kate Peterson - Teaching/Educational consultation/Morale
April Goetzman -  Graphic art
Doug Ratay -  Teaching/Educational consultation
Pete & Jani Sherrard -  Hospitality
Andy Sherrard -  Everything
Herman & Kristen Knopf -  Taking care of Sunny

Panel of Experts 

From time to time during our travels it will be important to be able to get input from a trained expert in a certain field to enhance the information that we'll be collecting.  For instance, if we are traveling in the Galapagos Islands, it would very interesting to have a trained veterinarian on staff to consult with the explorers.  We also intend for the our panel of experts to guest host or be discussion leaders during our interactive chats when their field of expertise is being highlighted.

Name Field Credentials
Dr. Mia Wesselmann Veterinary Science Resume

This section is dedicate to links for sources of information on the web that have been extremely useful to O2B Explorers.  -  An executive chef and a primary school teacher travel the world and tell us about it.  This site has lots of specific information about what it takes to put together an around the world trip.  O2B Explorers found this site very useful.  Drawing from their backgrounds, David and Kristina give good insight and interesting perspectives on the places they visited.  O2B Explorers especially found the budget, tips and tricks, and technical sections of their site extremely helpful.


Why O2B Explorers?

By:  Doug Ratay

As an astronomer I am struck with awe every time I think about what I know.  You could draw a picture or show a photo of anything in the universe from the smallest known subatomic particle to the largest galactic clusters, and I or one of my colleagues could provide a fairly detailed explanation of that object.  Is that right?  Should it be possible that I, 100kg of organic matter, can describe the inner workings of a galactic cluster, some 100000000000000kg of matter?  Either way, it is the case.  Why do we know so much?  Carl Sagan is attributed to the brilliant quote, "Understanding is beautiful."  This is possibly one of the most understated truths of humanity.  You do not need to discover a new planet to appreciate it.  In everyday life we solve little mysteries like the crossword puzzle, the intricacies of the voice mail system, the right amount of cinnamon to add to the cookies.  When we solve these mysteries we feel that little bit of joy in our hearts, because suddenly we understand something new.  It's as if nature has hard wired us to want to know more.   Throughout history there have been those who have asked big questions.  What's over that next hill?  What are those little dots in the sky?  What happens when I drink this fermented liquid?  Eventually answers have been found for those questions.  For better or worse, our world today is shaped by the big and little questions that have and have not been asked throughout history. Science, as I tell my elementary school students, is about asking stupid questions and looking relentlessly for the answers.  Since everyone has the ability to ask stupid questions and look for the answer, the obvious conclusion to the previous statement is that humans are scientists.  Humans are Explorers. 

We live in an age where technology makes the world seem about as big as a backyard.  Instantly I can download a live feed from a beach in Brazil to my house in Gainesville.  However, as people we don't really know all that much about the world.  How many people can we claim to meet during the course of our lives.  If we met one new person every day for 72 years of life, we would know about 26000 people.  That's an astonishingly small 0.0004% of the world's 6 billion people. When you consider that your relationship with 80 to 90%  of those people consists of nothing more than a handshake, the number of people you truly know something about lies in the low 1000's or even less.  More than likely these people are your family, friends, and people who share many of the same interests as you.  They are very similar to you.  But what of the other 6,000,000,000?  Are their stories important?  Can we take something from their lives to make our own a little better?  Even if we can't meet them personally, is there a way that the breadth and depth of their lives can impact us? 

O2BExplorers can be that way.  O2BExplorers takes PEOPLE from all over the world and all through history and brings them to us.  O2BExplorers will be able to show the amazing cultural and geographic diversity of the world. What makes O2BExplorers better than the few other online expeditions or traditional travel magazines is that O2BExplorers is interactive and O2BExplorers is designed to educate.  O2BExplorers in interactive in the sense that all people who visit the site are as important as the Explorers themselves. The visitors to the site choose where the Explorers go next.  The visitors to the site can tell the explorers to look for a person of a certain profession, group, or activity in another country.  They can even tell the explorers what kind of food to eat.  This is the type of simple inquiry that science and humanity is based on.  Why do people live on floating islands?  Why do children in Mexico get to vote?  What's for dinner in Bolivia?  Visitors to the site are transformed into active global learners.   

O2BExplorers is necessarily broad.  In fact, that is its beauty. O2BExplorers is a natural extension of a liberal arts education.  In order to understand ourselves or any other group of people in the world, we must understand history, culture, art, environment, technology, and the relationship between them all.  O2BExplorers' goal is to encompass all of this.  O2BExplorers is not "mission specific", because neither people nor life are "mission specific".  Often it is the tiny experiences in life and not the large scale expeditions that give us the most meaningful experiences.  It would be unwise of us to put value judgments on what is worthwhile to learn about other cultures. The Explorers will not be experts in every one of the fields listed above. However, one of their jobs while they are on the road is to be a clearing house of information for visitors to the site.  The Explorers will be able to find experts in many fields and put their knowledge onto the site.  The Explorers are intelligent, normal people who have a desire to know who and what is over the next hill.  That makes them special.