Mark Wood is an explorer, educator and speaker and was the first person to complete the toughest expedition on the planet, The North South Solo expedition in March 2012. Exploring to Mark is more than just about discovery – as he operates within the extremes of the planet; he aims to communicate daily about the issues affecting us all, particularly climate change.
A few years ago, before Skype in the classroom was born, Mark started a schools program in the Himalayas. On his expedition, he reached the remotest schools imaginable and felt a moral obligation to help them in any way he could. With help from the teams he was guiding, they installed electricity, computers and projectors and brought teachers from the UK into these classrooms, both in person and via Skype.
They have since had several video calls from amazing towns like Namche Bazaar in Nepal, the gateway to the high Himalayas. They’ve connected with schools in the UK and US, and charities and initiatives like IGGY, of which Mark is a patron of. They had a Skype call direct to this amazing network created by Warwick University that helps exceptionally bright kids realize their potential, all over the world.
During his North South Solo expedition, Mark used Skype and other social media to communicate when at base camps and during the transitional period between expeditions. Unfortunately they haven’t brought a connection to Antarctica or the frozen Arctic Ocean just yet! Whilst trekking, Mark kept a video-blog which he could then share back home.
Mark’s next challenge will be to reach the 3rd pole; the highest peak on the planet, Mount Everest, in May 2013. With this expedition, he will be stepping up his communication to schools around the world, showing his journey via Skype as there is real scope to link all the way along his route. From preparation in the UK and then Kathmandu, then up to Base Camp at Everest before the final ascent, he intends to use Skype for a daily video call to schools around the globe. These calls will both provide updates on the expedition and also to take questions from students.
Right now, Mark is guiding a group along his planned route to Everest, to look for the most spectacular and educational places to make Skype calls from. Whilst he’s there he has been asked to talk to thousands of people at the Norwegian Outdoor Festival, and will be talking to them via Skype from the Himalayas!
Mark’s ultimate ambition is to make the very first Skype call from the summit of Mount Everest. He wants to show it to the world, and particularly the next generation, live over Skype. Although he will only be at the summit for a few minutes at most, he wants to share his journey with children around the world, educating them about exploring, and highlighting the effects of climate change which we all must live with.
You can follow Mark’s journey here. Good luck Mark – we wish you all the best!