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AR gone wild: two approaches to using augmented reality learning games in Zoos



Participants in Augmented Reality (AR) games are equipped with location-aware handheld computers, allowing players to physically move throughout a real world location while simultaneously triggering virtual information based on their physical location. Researchers are only beginning to understand how to leverage the pedagogical strengths of location-based AR games. This paper includes case studies for two separate research projects: Researchers from MIT will present "Zoo Scene Investigators: Challenges of Designing a Mystery Themed AR Game for Students Ages 10-14 in a U.S. Zoo". Researchers from Futurelab will present "Crafting mediascapes for a Zoo Setting using Create-A-Scape with Singaporean Primary School Students".
AR Gone Wild: Two Approaches to Using Augmented Reality
Learning Games in Zoos
Judy Perry, Eric Klopfer, Marleigh Norton, MIT, 77 Massachusetts Ave., 10-337, Cambridge, MA, 02139 USA
Dan Sutch, Richard Sandford, Keri Facer, Futurelab, 1 Canons Road Harbourside Bristol BS1 5UH UK
Abstract: Participants in Augmented Reality (AR) games are equipped with location-aware
handheld computers, allowing players to physically move throughout a real world location
while simultaneously triggering virtual information based on their physical location.
Researchers are only beginning to understand how to leverage the pedagogical strengths of
location-based AR games. This paper includes case studies for two separate research
projects: Researchers from MIT will present “Zoo Scene Investigators: Challenges of
Designing a Mystery Themed AR Game for Students Ages 10-14 in a U.S. Zoo”.
Researchers from Futurelab will present “Crafting mediascapes for a Zoo Setting using
Create-A-Scape with Singaporean Primary School Students”.
Overview: Augmenting Learning through Augmented Reality
The two projects discussed below were developed independently of each other. Nevertheless, they
display common characteristics in design and implementation, further exploration of which might reveal
important lessons for future developers of this kind of learning activity. Here, we present a brief overview of the
field of mobile learning, a summary of each project, and brief discussion of themes resonating between projects.
The use of mobile devices as tools to support learning (or “m-learning”) continues to be actively
explored by educators and researchers. As mobile devices become part of everyday life, for learning activities to
remain relevant they ought to build on the technological practices that learners are familiar with outside the
school environment. Vavoula and Sharples (2002) suggest that learning is itself inherently mobile, claiming that
it displays mobility in time (it “happens at different points during the day”), in space (learning can occur “at the
workplace, at home and at places of leisure”) and across different areas of life (it “may relate to work demands,
self-improvement or leisure”). Mobile devices themselves can be well suited for supporting certain learning
activities: Klopfer, Squire & Jenkins (2002) identify five properties of mobile devices that make them useful to
educators: portability, social interactivity (both face-to-face interaction and data exchange between learners),
context sensitivity (through GPS and data networks, but also through video and image capture capabilities,
mobile devices can collect and respond to data particular to a certain area), connectivity and individuality
(support for different activities can be tailored for different learners). For researchers and educators whose work
is informed by sociocultural, constructivist and situated theories of learning, mobile learning is of particular
interest. Mobile devices afford learners the opportunity to leave the classroom and situate their learning in
different geographic contexts, placing them within an authentic environment and giving them tools with which
to support the construction of new knowledge – in a sense, these devices enable any location to become a
student’s classroom. From this perspective, the authenticity of the context in which the learner is situated is
determined by the overarching narrative under which learners’ activities are located. This opportunity has
resonated with those keen to extend Papert's (1980) notion of the “microworld” (a consistent, self-contained
simulation offering learners the opportunity to engage with systemic thinking) beyond a program running on a
computer: describing what they term “participatory simulations”, Naismith et al. (2004) highlight the benefit of
having a learner, through a networked device, become part of a dynamic system: “they do not just watch the
simulation, they are the simulation”.
In this way, the information and data given to learners does more than just reflect the reality in which
they are situated: it augments it, supporting them as they engage with the narrative of the learning experience.
This class of mobile learning activity has become known as “augmented reality” (AR), and draws on research
into game-based learning as well as work on mobile learning activities. AR games engage participants in
activities that combine real-world experiences with additional information supplied to them by handheld
computers. As students physically move about within geographic space (e.g., a school campus, an outdoor
plaza, a zoo, etc.), their location-aware handheld computers (e.g., Windows Mobile devices equipped with GPS)
allow them to collect additional information by interviewing virtual characters, viewing rich media or accessing
real or simulated data. Participants in AR games are often tasked with role-playing and collaboratively
investigating a problem or issue in a game-like fashion. Previous work on AR (Klopfer, Squire & Jenkins,
2002; Klopfer, Squire & Jenkins, 2003; Klopfer & Squire, 2004; Falk, Ljungstrand, Bjork, & Hannson, 2001;
Walz, 2002) indicates that these immersive, interactive experiences are promising for learning.
In this paper, we discuss two separate research projects: “Zoo Scene Investigators” which takes place at
the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, located in Columbus, Ohio in the United States. The Tao Nan School’s
Zooscape AR game was located in the Singapore Zoological Garden. In both projects, investigators sought to
explore ways in which zoo settings might provide fertile locations for place-based AR learning games.
Zoo Scene Investigators: Challenges of Designing a Mystery Themed AR
Game for Students Ages 10-14 in a U.S. Zoo
Background and Research Objectives
Building on knowledge gained from prior research, the MIT Teacher Education Program and
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium collaborated to design and test an AR game designed to teach Zoo visitors about
the illegal wildlife trade. The goals and requirements of the project included:
Age-appropriate content and pedagogy for middle school students on field trip.
Teams of six students plus one adult chaperone: Based on previous Zoo field trip models, teams of six
students proved manageable by one adult, without requiring too many chaperones of the school.
Two-hour time limit: Factoring in introduction, tutorial and conclusion, this left an hour for game play.
Manageable by one Zoo staff: The Zoo was able to devote one staff member to running the game.
Illegal Wildlife Trade Theme: The illegal wildlife trade is particularly problematic in southeast Asia.
The AR game was designed to reinforce this theme, and was located in the “Asia Quest” exhibit.
Mapped to existing math and science content standards: To qualify as an educational field trip, certain
educational state content standards must be met. This required incorporating additional material such as
the differences between plant and animal cells, quantitative graphs, and predator-prey relationships.
High engagement for participants: If the students are not engaged, they will be unlikely to learn.
Furthermore, field trips participants expected an enjoyable experience.
Our investigations centered on the following key research questions: (1) Do students of various
backgrounds and ages (ranging from 10-14 years old) find a role-playing AR game in which they investigate a
simulated crime while learning about endangered species both appealing and engaging?, (2) Is it possible to
have a meaningful AR experience with middle schools students in two hours or less?, (3) How can we create a
cohesive game using key existing physical live animal exhibits? (4) What additional steps and/or research
would permit us to further develop this approach to using AR in a zoo setting?
The following description outlines the scenario presented to participants, and reflects the modifications
made based on the piloting process (described below). Students arrived at the Zoo having already been divided
into teams and assigned a chaperone. They were escorted to a conference room, where the basics of the game
were explained. They were then shown a video to explain the story, narrated by a security guard explaining how
an anonymous ‘John Doe” nighttime Zoo intruder was captured, possibly trying to steal something. You [the
players, a.k.a. the famous “Zoo Scene Investigators”] have been brought in to gather clues, and determine what
the intruder was up to.
Handheld computers, GPS units, and paper worksheets (“clue reports”) were distributed to players,
after which all players went outside for a walking tutorial. A Zoo staff member guided the players through the
types of interactions required in the game, including interviewing animals, interviewing people, filling out clue
reports, and finding clue codes (small signs with numbers on them hidden in the physical space which students
enter into their computers to get information). After the tutorial, the players separated into their teams and
played the game as individual groups. Teams returned to the conference room at the appointed time to discuss
their findings and to watch a confessional video by the villain.
Concept Testing
The project began during summer 2007, taking advantage of the Zoo’s week long day camp sessions
for middle school students (mainly 11 and 12, as well as some 13 year-olds) to gauge the appeal of various
game concepts. The students were split into groups of roughly 10 students and were facilitated by a moderator.
The moderator read two scenarios to the students, after which students completed a written opinion survey. The
moderators then facilitated a focus group in which the students discussed the potential scenarios. The groups
took place weekly, across three weeks, with revisions to the scenarios in between. Week One’s scenario
consisted of reading scenarios on Zoo Scene Investigators, a detective game about a crime that had taken place
in the Zoo, and Death by Cookies, an investigation into a cookie company which was using illegally farmed
palm oil and the ripple effects on the environment. During the testing which occurred during Weeks Two and
Three, subsequent revisions to these scenarios were presented for similar feedback.
Handheld Prototypes 1 & 2
A prototype of Zoo Scene Investigators was created for GPS-enabled handheld computers. The
prototype contained several interaction styles and the interviews were in the form of plain text with still images.
Classes were recruited from local schools to send students to one of three sessions. Each session contained three
teams of six students and one or more chaperones. The participants in Prototype 1 included two classes (7th and
8th graders) from an inner city school and one class of 5th graders from a rural school. At least one observer
accompanied each team to take notes, and written surveys were given afterwards.
Participants in Prototype 2 played a version of the game which was revised based on the results of the
first handheld prototype. These pilot tests had the same structure as the first: three sessions with three teams
each. The timing of the test—nearly winter and before a major holiday—made it extremely difficult to recruit
subjects. This time, two sessions included 8th graders from the same inner city school, and the final group was
made up of 5th graders from a suburban school.
Findings and Discussion
Concept Testing
The focus groups provided useful insights into the difficulties of designing for this age group. The
range of maturity of the students was wider than expected and was reflected in their tastes. A good indicator was
the reaction to the Death by Cookies scenario. Most students either liked the idea because they liked cookies, or
hated the idea because they thought a cookie game would be for little kids. Since the particular product was not
central to the concept, it was changed to soap for the next test.
For the second week, having discovered that cookies were a polarizing theme, the product in the
second scenario was changed as reflected in the new title, The Dirt on Soap. The students were much more
divided on whether they liked the detective scenario or the corporate investigation scenario better. However,
Zoo Scene Investigators was the preferred scenario, so it was selected as the final concept.
The third and final week of concept testing was used to collect more information on the way to
implement the Zoo Scene Investigators idea—whether it should be more serious or silly, or should involve
talking animals. Talking animals also proved to be controversial. The compromise solution was to have animals
talk via a special machine that read the animals’ memories. This seemed to satisfy both sides as a way of
communicating with animals in a less childish way.
Handheld Prototype 1
As can be expected from initial prototypes, the first handheld prototype test turned out to be a useful
source of data, though unsuccessful as a game. There were many issues to address, including:
Low literacy: It was a surprise to the designers to find that participants comprising two of the
sessions—the inner city 7th and 8th graders—were not native speakers of English and whose English
literacy was extremely low. As this prototype was almost entirely written text, this made the game
impossible for the students to play without assistance. The third session—rural 5th graders—were
native English speakers, yet they also had difficulty with the amount of reading. After discussion with
the Zoo staff, it was decided that low literacy should not be a barrier to playing the game. Adding audio
became a high priority revision to the next version of the prototype.
Cognitive overload: Given the already short amount of time for gameplay, the teams were spending a
comparatively large amount of time deciding what to do. To focus the students on the content, it was
decided to try a completely linear structure for the second prototype: students discover each clue in a
predetermined order, and follow this path to solve the mystery.
Lack of teamwork: The game was designed to encourage teamwork by giving different information to
each of the three pairs of students on the team, and expecting students to share that information to solve
the crime. However, while students were very interested in their own clues, there were not interested in
those of their teammates. On some occasions, it was observed that this seemed to be less of a problem
when one pair of students received information and the others did not. For the next pilot, it was decided
to only give new information to one pair of students at a time. The other two pairs would get
notifications to go ask the first pair what they discovered.
Handheld Prototype 2
Generally speaking, observations conducting during the second handheld prototype demonstrated
progress in several problem areas identified during the previous round of testing. Replacing the text with
subtitled audio improved playability, though there were some problems clearly hearing audio. The linear
gameplay helped maintain momentum and shift students’ focus on interpreting the clues, rather than merely
deciding what order in which to get them. Giving information to one role (one pair of students) at a time also
seemed to have its intended effect as students shared information much more freely in this session, though there
was some confusion in teams where one student tried to go ahead of his or her peers. Nevertheless, the
prototype also introduced new problems that were difficult to see in the previous test, including:
Error-prone tutorial: The tutorial had a walking component in which a single member of the Zoo staff
led all 18 students through a series of clues. Keeping that many students’ attention was a difficult task,
and sometimes the staff member forgot to address certain topics. Also, if the students were not paying
attention at a key moment, they may have missed a key instruction regarding the game. Enlisting the
help of the chaperones, creating tools for the Zoo staff member in the form of checklists, and some sort
of assessment to make sure that all students understand what to do before they leave for the
independent portion of the game are all being considered for future iterations of the game.
Unclear integration of clue reports and game: The clue reports were written worksheets given to the
students and chaperone as a way of focusing the students on the task. They were intended to be used at
the end of each animal section. However, several chaperones forgot they even had clue reports to fill
out. Those who did often tried to fill them out too soon, such that they were trying to answer questions
about clues they had not found yet. Possible fixes include giving clearer cues in the game about when
to fill out the clue reports and having checklists of clues for the chaperone to know when they have
collected enough information.
Animals vs. GPS: The viewing areas for most animals is often quite small, made smaller by the fact
that GPS does not function indoors, so indoor viewing areas were mostly avoided by the game. Further,
if the character interview hotspots were placed too close together, a student could stand in a single spot
and unintentionally trigger multiple interviews, creating confusion. This prototype tried to strike a
compromise between placing characters near an animal enclosure so the animal could be viewed while
playing the game, and trying to select locations which were likely to be successful with the constraints
of GPS. The results were unsatisfactory, with students often ignoring the animals – thus missing a key
opportunity for the Zoo. It is unclear how to address this, though a possible solution would be to
explicitly build in time to look at animals, with the understanding that animals are sometimes
uncooperative and not available to visitors.
Utilizing mediascapes with Singaporean Primary Students in a Zoo Setting
“Mediascape”, a software conceptualised and developed for use with GPS-enabled PDAs, is a digital
overlay of sound clips, video snippets, etc. on a particular geographic location or hotspot. The GUIs and the
underlying software architecture are designed so that mediascapes can be easily constructed and analysed on
standard PCs with picture files or video clips. An interesting feature of the software is that it allows users to
conduct simulated test-runs of the completed mediascapes on PCs before downloading them into the PDAs for
use on the location. These flexibilities allow teachers and pupils to create mediascapes for themselves or others.
The technology that enables the construction of, and participation in, mediascapes was developed by
Mobile Bristol, working with HP Labs in Bristol, UK. Initially, the technology was piloted as part of
Futurelab’s Savannah (Facer, 2004) and Mudlarking projects, and subsequently updated and improved versions
were used in collaborations with other partners (for example, ‘Ere Be Dragons, and a game set in the Tower of
London). Following the success of these projects and the decision to allow public to have access to the software
needed to create and use mediascapes, Futurelab and HP Labs, with the support of the Department for Education
and Skills, developed the Create-A-Scape website ( that contained resources and
support for teachers interested in using mediascapes in their teaching. A pilot project which put Create-A-Scape
technology to use took place in the UK in December 2006, as part of a pan-European project (PUENTE, an
extension of the “La Piazza” project), investigating appropriate frameworks for analysing and designing
intergenerational activities in public spaces. The experiences and findings of these previous projects informed
the development of the Tao Nan School’s mediascape, discussed below.
Tao Nan School’s Zooscape
Encouraged by the success of projects conducted in the UK illustrating the potentialities of this locative
technology in supporting new and emerging forms of learning, Tao Nan School of Singapore, in collaboration
with HP and IDA, decided to develop a learning experience for its pupils using the Mediascape technology. At
the conceptual stage, the research team was mindful of the fact that for an IT-enabled implementation in
curriculum to be meaningful to the teachers and the pupils, the use of technology needed to take into account the
socio-cultural context of the participating schools and education system: i.e. how the technology would used
and when it would be used would influence the outcomes of the implementation. The decision thus was made to
locate the use of the mediascape in the Singapore Zoological Garden over a period of two hours, as part of the
Primary Six’s science enrichment programme during the June vacation. With this arrangement, not only would
the use of the locative technology be situated within the larger context of the pupil’s outing to the Zoo, but it
also minimized the impact the implementation of technology had on the already over-crowded curricular slots.
In designing the curriculum, the research team was interested in developing an understanding of the
ways HP Mediascape technology enhanced pupils' learning experience in the Singapore context. More
specifically, the research team considered the following areas worth pursuing further: (1) Does the technology
promote students’ engagement with the learning objectives?; (2) Does the technology foster greater social
interaction between learners in the Singapore context?; (3) What teaching objectives are appropriate when using
this technology?; (4) What factors contribute to the successful implementation of technology in our schools?
The project has two broad phases. The first was a planning stage, in which the teachers and students
worked with a researcher from Futurelab to develop an understanding of the potential of the technology and the
ways in which it might be used meaningfully within the curricular context of Tao Nan Primary School,
producing a plan for a set of activities based at Singapore Zoo, incorporating the use of the mediascape
technology. The second phase was a practical trial of these activities in the Zoo itself.
Curriculum Development
Developing the curriculum consisted of three segments: planning, testing, and executing. During the
planning phase, two science teachers worked with the researcher to extend their understandings of the ways in
which the tool might be used to support the science curriculum. Following this early planning work, they
proceeded to work with the HP support team in developing a set of activities based at Singapore Zoological
Garden that would use the mediascape technology. The testing phase was a technical trial of the technology and
it consisted of three stages: First, the teachers, with the assistant of HP support staff, introduced the mediascape
and its functionalities to the pupils by having them to try out the technology on the school compound. Second,
the teachers and the HP support staff tested the mediascape at the Zoo to ensure that it was technically viable.
Third, the teachers, with the help of other science teachers, went through the activities in its entirety at the Zoo
so that they could have a sense of what the pupils would be experiencing; and, where necessary to fine tune the
activities. The third and final phase involved 30 Primary Six pupils from Tao Nan School. They were divided
into two groups of 15 each and these two groups carried out the same set of activities at the Zoo on different
days. Within each group, the pupils were organised into teams of three of mixed abilities. Each team was given
two PDAs; one for GPS connectivity and the other for capturing audio-video clips as well as taking notes
The Task
During the field trial, the pupils were divided into mixed-ability groups with each group having three
members. Each group was assigned one roles: Herbivore (Pygmy Hippo), Carnivore (Otter) or Omnivore
(Sunbear); and was given the following storyline (reproduced here in the idiomatic English used in Singapore):
You were caught by some poachers and had just made an escape. You are heading
home to the zoo now but at the same time facing dangers of meeting your predators.
Hence, you must avoid certain animals and their enclosures according to your diet. To
avoid being preyed on, you need to use your survival tool, the PDA, to strategise your
safe return. The team which completes the most tasks and has avoided the most
pitfalls wins the game.
The groups were also told to begin their search of their habitats (indicated as hotspot on the mediascape) from a
particular tram station and end it at their own habitat (Pygmy Hippo / Otter / Sunbear) within two hours. Each
group was expected to visit at least two hotspots plus one compulsory hotspot (excluding their own habitats) in
order to complete the game. Within each hotspot, the pupils were required to: (1) From the list, check whether
there are any animals that have similar diet as yours, (2) If yes, proceed to do the tasks and take a photo of
another animal in the list that matches your diet for your food points, and (3) If no, move on to the next hotspot.
The pupils were told of a bonus hotspot for which double bonus food point would be awarded for every
task completed in this hotspot. They were also asked to snap a picture of their prey if they were spotted at the
wrong habitat and the prey would lose a food point. The pupils were required to save the completed tasks into
the PDAs. As a penalty for performing the tasks at the wrong habitat, food points would be deduced at the end
of the game. All the tasks which were completed needed to be saved into the PDAs. When the pupils reached
their own habitats, they were expected to record a short video of themselves at the habitats and end the video by
saying, “I am home.”
Data Collection
A post-activity survey was conducted among the pupils to identify pupils’ attitudes towards the use of
handheld computers in the activities as well as the nature and quality of learning that took place. The survey
took the form of a Likert-scaled questionnaire with 16 items. A typical question from the questionnaire was “I
like handheld computers because of its small size” and the pupils were required to provide their answers on a
four-point scale with discreet scores ranging from strong agreement on one side to strong disagreement on the
other side, and with no opinion in the middle. Besides quantity data, qualitative data for this project was
collected through on-site observation and semi-structured post-activity interviews. For the two days the
activities were taking place, a researcher followed two mixed-ability groups, one on each day, to observe how
the pupils within the groups interact with each other as well as how these pupils interact with the technology.
These pupils were interviewed by the same researcher immediately after the field trial so that a better
understanding of their interactions could be developed. The teachers and the technical support staff from HP
involved in this project were interviewed within a week from the completion of the activities at the Zoo.
Analysis and Discussion
Effect of Technology
Of the 16 items in the survey administered, six items were about the functionalities of the handheld
PDAs. The responses from the pupils for these items showed that the pupils involved in the project took to the
handheld PDAs: they enjoyed using the PDAs because it was a “cool-thing” to engage in a wide variety of
outdoor activities with a PDA that fitted snugly in one’s palm. Many pupils, during the post-activity interview,
commented that having the handheld was “fun and nice” and the device was easy to use because the screen
layouts looked similar to those on PCs. Many pupils found the camera and video-recording features useful and
one boy explained that the video-recording feature allowed his group, “to take note vocally…and in the
background we can put the animal we are talking about!”
It was observed on many occasions during the field trial that the use of technology encouraged pupils
to perform the assigned tasks in ways that were unanticipated by the teachers or the researchers. For example,
when the boy commented that his group used the video-recorder function of the handheld to do note-taking, he
had indicated that he and his group were not using the PDA’s word processing software, which many would link
to tasks like taking notes and recording observations, to record their observations. In fact, he saw the video-
recording mode as superior in accomplishing the note-taking task as the video-recording feature of the PDA
allowed them to record the animals they were talking about. This example illustrated the affordance of the
technology that enabled the pupils to complete a task in ways that are far more innovative and creative than
what could be perceived by the teachers or the researchers when they were designing the curriculum. Similarly
the massive computational power of the PDA coupled with its integrated functionalities afforded the pupils the
ability to attempt a particular task multiple times, selecting the best outcome. For example, the researchers
observed that the pupils, when tasked to take a snapshot of a particular animal (e.g., a polar bear), tended to take
multiple-shots from various angles and positions instead of just one shot. After taking the shots, the groups
would view through these photographs on the PDA’s screen, selecting the best shot and deleting the rest. The
criteria for selection were observed to be colour and contrast of the photographs as well as the clarity of the
image of the animal captured by the PDA’s camera.
The field trial showed that it was not just the locative technology that encouraged and supported the
effort put in by the group but that more traditional tools were necessary. The paper map of the Zoo was vital
during the activities and gave the group a shared purpose; it was large enough for a group of pupils to view it
simultaneously. The affordance of coupling pen with map in this field trial had enabled some pupils to actually
share their ideas in a concrete manner through creating markings on the map.
Nature and Quality of Learning
It was observed that the use of this locative technology during the activities had allowed greater
opportunities for contextualized learning of the subject that otherwise would not be possible in the classroom.
One of the teachers involved in the project observed that:
“During classroom teaching, pupils tended to be more passive with lots of spoon feeding
taking place, difficult to assess [pupil’s understanding,] we wouldn’t know [whether] they
understand it or memorized the fact. The task in [the] real world stretched them further and
they tended to think and analyse, and through the discussion we know whether they know
how to apply the knowledge learned [in classroom]. [In class,] when they have problems they
will raise their hand to asked the teacher and the teacher would prompt or tell them the
answer. Now they don’t have a teacher to help them and were left alone, now they don’t
know whether their answer was right or wrong but they just have to do it. They have to do it
and to decipher for themselves the information around them.”
Given that the content and pedagogical approach within the Zoo game differed markedly from their
standard classroom practice, some pupils were obviously uncomfortable with such change. During the post-
activity interview, a girl commented that she supposed she could learn the same science content in the classroom
and it would be much faster and more comfortable to do so in the classroom, especially since the teacher was
always there ready to provide help, so doing the activities in the Zoo was not that beneficial to her. Her
response echoed that of the survey findings. In the survey findings, the two items among those that had the least
percentage of pupils stating they “agree” or “strongly agree” were about the effectiveness of technology as an
enabler in learning: (n) I know more about the subject because of the using handheld computer (78%); and, (o)
Handheld computer helped me learn better (88%). All the other items of the survey generally have at least 90%
of the respondents stating “agree” or “strongly agree”.
The researcher observed that there was a relatively high degree of engagement among the pupils in the
groups he observed during the field trial. Pupils were deeply engaged in exchanging their ideas, asking for
clarification and requesting for confirmation. Similar observation was made by one of the teachers involved in
the project who reported during the post-activity interview that the behaviours of the pupils, during the field
trial, as compared to that in the science classroom were “very different”:
During the [field] trial they actually ask each other questions. ‘Is this chimpanzee?’ … The
other pupils will help by looking at the list... They will prompt each other question and that is
how they arrived at the answer, so called answer which they are not very sure of.
The comments the pupils made during the interview about the ways they interacted with each were consistent
with those made by the researcher and the teacher. One girl, during the interview, commented that during the
field trial she could easily move around to exchange ideas using the resources like PDA, signposts and maps
with her peers in the group whereas in the classroom it would be more difficult to do so because of the
constraint of space and sitting arrangement.
Discussion points
While there are many differences between the two projects, some core themes resonate in each. The
first, and perhaps most obvious, difference is the cultural context: with one project located in the USA and
another in Singapore, it might be assumed that users came to the trials with different attitudes towards the
technology, grounded in the wider social expectations of and familiarity with mobile technology. Similarly, we
might assume that the location itself holds different places in the respective cultural imaginations: the purpose
and role of a “zoo” might be expected to have historically different beginnings and to differ still in the present
day. And from a more specifically educational perspective it might be expected that different pedagogic
experiences and attitudes informed every aspect of each project, from understandings of the roles of teachers
and learners to the purpose and value of field trips. Neither trial, however, was undertaken with the aim of
furnishing data for a comparative cultural study, so we can do nothing more here than note that these broad
cultural differences might exist.
Continuing to view the two trials from an educational perspective, it is clear that the pedagogic aims of
each differ sufficiently to make it impractical to compare their relative success or failure in successfully
addressing the curricula aims of the teachers involved. The ages of the two cohorts of students differed
significantly, as did the way in which each activity was designed. The tasks necessary for the completion of
each activity also differed in their focus and approach, making a comparison between the two meaningless.
However, there is one important difference between them that is worth highlighting in a discussion of possible
approaches to design and pedagogy within learning-focused locative activities. In each project, learners were
asked to take on a different identity, in effect playing a role other than “learner” throughout the activity: for the
students in the MIT project this role was that of a human unaffiliated with the zoo, while for the Singaporean
students the identities they were asked to inhabit were those of various animals resident in the Zoo. In this case,
examining the difference in approach might lead to a productive exploration of the role of identity in learning
activities of this kind and the degree to which teachers and designers feel this role might need to be tied to the
physical location in which the activity takes place.
Perhaps of most interest, given the focus on physical location, was the choice of venue for each: a zoo.
This suggests a number of lines of possible enquiry. Firstly, the place a “field trip to the zoo” occupies within
the discourse of formal education may be similar in each case: this is an activity about which people involved
parents, school staff, learners themselves – already hold certain beliefs and understandings. The specifically
technological and mobile dimension of the two projects discussed above is thus not taking place in a location
that challenges wider notions of what learning consists of. From a practical point of view, it is a safe, regulated
location well used to being treated as a pedagogic resource.
Secondly, from a design perspective the zoo affords clearly designated locations that map to the
clearly-defined GPS co-ordinates that underpin the activity. “The monkey house” or “the crocodile pool” have
more sharply defined boundaries than other, more nebulous concepts of places such as “near the gate” or “just
past the playing fields”. Even if the real physical location has messy and ill-defined boundaries, the mental
models of a zoo provided for visitors (even those not trialing a new location-based technology) and constructed
through signs and maps are themselves clear. This may well be of use to designers attempting to represent a
location with quantitative methods. Of course, GPS detection itself is not exact, and finding ways to plausibly
incorporate a certain “fuzziness” on the ground regarding individual players’ locations is a challenge for
designers. Exploring the tensions between these two constructions of place would perhaps lead to a greater
understanding of productive design approaches for this type of tool.
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... The meta-analysis of [4] also showed that the game story had a positive effect on motivation. In the context of AR serious games, previous research also suggested driving the player interaction and learning through gamified stories or narratives [84], which could provide the structure and rationale for the AR experience and impact the quality of the experience profoundly [85], [86]. While the game story may have the potential to enhance motivation, research indicated that the fantasy game environment might lead to lower learning achievements [8]. ...
... In addition, to enhance the perceived autonomy, a game should be designed to respond dynamically to an individual's task choice without constraining them [46]. In parallel, too much choice may lead to cognitive overload during the experience, which is one of the most frequently reported AR design challenges [48], [85], [86]. The willingness to play a particular game may vary in the autonomy afforded within the game, such as the degree of choice one has over the sequence of tasks or actions undertaken [89]. ...
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Augmented Reality serious games have become an emerging solution to positively influence the learning experience for children born in the digital age. However, systematic and empirically tested design guidelines for AR serious games remain largely unexplored. In this study, we investigated the design guidelines by designing and developing four AR serious games with different mechanics inspired by the psychological needs within Self-determination Theory, following with four user studies respectively. In the first study, we explored the AR game concepts by conducting participatory design sessions. In the second study, we investigated how children react to different types of interactions and feedback mechanics in AR serious games with 32 participants. Then, we scrutinized the effect of social interactions in AR serious games on children with 24 participants. Lastly, we designed an AR game with four different versions, tested pathways to immerse children to explore and play in an AR fantasy world with 81 participants. Generally, this research explored the concepts, prototypes, and results of incorporating AR with serious games for children. We realized multiple AR prototypes inspired by SDT and generalized a set of design guidelines, which are intended to help future related designs in AR serious games.
... In addition to the zoos' self-motivated digitization efforts, this topic is also subject of various researches. In addition to the tracking and identification of animals [2], there exist approaches: to gamification [5], [20], augmented reality [20], virtual guiding and navigation [21], [22], mobile learning applications [23], [24], [25] and digital content management systems [26]. The corresponding research approaches were evaluated and prepared accordingly for the case study and the application within the workshops. ...
... In addition to the zoos' self-motivated digitization efforts, this topic is also subject of various researches. In addition to the tracking and identification of animals [2], there exist approaches: to gamification [5], [20], augmented reality [20], virtual guiding and navigation [21], [22], mobile learning applications [23], [24], [25] and digital content management systems [26]. The corresponding research approaches were evaluated and prepared accordingly for the case study and the application within the workshops. ...
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In many industrial domains and service sectors, digitalization efforts show first results. New kinds of products and services were introduced, which would not have been possible without end-to-end digitalization of operational processes, continuous collection and evaluation of data about product use and evaluation of customer data or activities. Facing the challenge of customer satisfaction in terms of leisure activities, zoos are in need to modernize their tours and attendances. Therefore, this article describes the application of the Digital Innovation and Transformation Process (DITP) in animal-gardening facilities, as it collects, analyzes and structures information of 19 facilities within the "Landeszooverband Mecklenburg-Vorpommern e.V." and combines them with qualitative studies. The research aims to analyze and focus the companies' intention for the digitization of zoos by using the first phase of the DITP. Possible business concepts, related works and best practices were gathered and are the basis for further research and applications.
... The key point of AR place-dependent is the location where situated learning took place. On the other hands, a place-independent experience is highly portable and has less or no amount of authentic interaction with physical environment [15]. An AR place-independent experience could embed a contextualized learning within a problem-based narrative along with a layer of content for learners to observe, manipulate, and analyze [16]. ...
... Independent location type of card marker need not a geographical variable, to display the overlay media on the object and highly portable; in this research embedded contextualized learning within a problem-based narrative along with a layer of content for the learner to observe, manipulate, and analyze. This design in accordance with the previous assumption of Klopfer and Sheldon [14] and Perry et al. [15]. ...
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This study demonstrates a supplementary classroom technology using an Augmented Reality (AR) application to enhance students in learning Genetics at Junior High School in Thailand. The tool provides visual cards of concepts about Genetics with multiple AR markers (cards). An interactive experience provides students a multiple-choice format to respond to different cases (questions). Using a purposive sampling technique, sixty students from the 9th grade compared and selected AR markers to generate an animated two-dimensional graphic with sound feedback. In addition, the students’ learning scores were compared among the groups of different analytical thinking abilities who used single and multiple AR markers. The results found the potential of using Augmented Reality (AR) in supporting students’ learning especially in improving analytical thinking ability.
... Our findings further suggest that VBAR learning through student engagement within the classroom environment may improve healthcare students' understanding of complex issues. Flexible learning through handheld mobile devices suggests that VBAR allows students to screen capture and record a video of their learning, which can be used as video notes for future reference and revision (Perry et al. 2008). This type of VBAR learning through student interactions in group work appears to facilitate enhanced communication between students and their peers (Tang et al. 2020). ...
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Background: Knowledge of anatomy and pathology of the spine together with spinal deformities is integral to several healthcare disciplines. This knowledge is crucial for graduates for assessment and management of patients with spinal problems. Physiotherapy students generally find it difficult to conceptualise the integrity of the structure and function of the spine that affects their acquisition of related physiotherapy skills. Objective: Our first objective was to introduce and evaluate the use of a Vision-Based Augmented Reality (VBAR) mobile application to teach students the anatomy and accessory movements of the spine. A further objective was to explore student experiences of and engagement with VBAR by conducting a post-lecture survey comparing VBAR to traditional teaching. Methods: This post-intervention crossover design study included two groups: final year physiotherapy students (n = 74) and mean age of 23 (±1.8). The computing department at Teesside University developed the VBAR mobile application. Moreover, a survey adapted from a previously published article was disseminated to students to evaluate their level of understanding following the use of the VBAR application. Results: The results demonstrated that the median questionnaire scores in students' perceived level of understanding for the VBAR group were significantly higher than for the traditional teaching group (p < 0.05). Conclusion: The results of this post-intervention survey suggest that the integration of VBAR learning activities results in gains relating to students' understanding of spinal anatomy, function, pathology and deformities. These findings suggest that VBAR could be an additional teaching tool to support student learning. Clinical implications: Greater understanding is expected to increase the quality of clinical practice.
... AR provides educators with the ability to leverage physical space as an additional layer of content for students to observe, manipulate, and analyze the content they are studying. However, it is necessary to embody these multiple perspectives into the environment and contextualize them within a problem-based narrative [Perry et al. 2008;Squire et al. 2007]. In other words, increasing the physical environment with digital information turns this environment into a place for multiple learning opportunities. ...
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This paper deals with initial results by using Augmented Reality and Transversal System of Teaching-Learning (TSTL) to teach anatomy in an undergraduate course of Physical Education. The ongoing project aims to use existing and low-cost resources in lessons to promote accessibility and school inclusion. The resources needed for this research are smartphones in the perspective of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and VR cardboards as an optional feature to increase immersion. This research is qualitative, and its methodology is grounded in action-research. Analysis of data collected were based in the theory of Structural Cognitive Modifiability (SCM) of Reuven Feuerstein.
... Since the early days of mobile learning games, high levels of engagement have been documented (Bressler & Bodzin, 2013;Dunleavy, Dede, & Mitchell, 2009;Facer et al., 2004;Perry et al., 2008). From their literature review on mobile games, Koutromanos and Avraamidou (2014) concluded that the most prevalent finding was that these games not only engage players but also facilitate positive feelings. ...
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In this chapter, we report on a mobile augmented reality game designed to support serious science learning in a playful, collaborative way. School Scene Investigators: The Case of the Mystery Power immersed eighth grade students in a fictional crime scene investigation at their school. Game-based learning was compared to business-as-usual. In our post-hoc analyses, we investigated how individual level factors affected learning. First, girls and boys both learned more during the game; yet, boys seemed to experience a slightly bigger impact from the treatment. Second, students from both teachers learned more during gameplay; however, the game seemed to mitigate the novice teacher's inexperience resulting in a teacher effect. Lastly, there is some evidence that treatment varies by prior knowledge; students with lower prior knowledge may have benefited more from the game. This study demonstrates that the non-traditional practice of mobile augmented reality gaming promotes more effective learning than business-as-usual.
... The two-dimensional evaluation of posture, using a plumb line, is very common, due to its low-cost and simplicity [23]. Kendall et al. postulated guidelines to evaluate posture in accordance with the alignment of the ideal plumb line for the measurement of the sagittal and frontal planes [24]. ...
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The clinical assessment of spinal deformities often involves the assessment of posture and back shape together with the associated mobility of the spine, pelvis and rib cage. Currently, there is a wide range of posture and back shape assessment tools available for clinical use. The choice varies from conventional approach to advanced structured light methods. The advanced methods like ultrasound, 3D radiography and inertial sensors are not easily accessible to most clinicians, as they are either expensive, require specialist training or are complex and/or difficult to use. Thus, simple conventional methods like eyeballing, photography and the plumb line are still used within clinical practice today. The primary aim of this article is to give an overview of different tactile and non-tactile measurement systems that have been developed for the measurement of posture and whole-body analysis.
... Prior research shows that AR holds promise for addressing some of these challenges in science learning. AR has been shown to support student engagement in scientific practices [14][15][16][17][18], and also streamlines the logistics involved in delivering outdoor learning experiences by delivering information just-in-time and allowing students to work at their own pace [14,15]. Just-in-time instruction helps students connect the conceptual ideas they learned in class to applications out in the real world, this connection transforms inert knowledge into active knowledge [19]. ...
Outdoor field trip experiences are a cornerstone of quality environmental science instruction, yet the excitement and distractions associated with field trips can overwhelm learning objectives. Augmented reality (AR) can focus students’ attention and help them connect the concept rich domain of the classroom with the context rich experiences in the field. In this study, students used an immersive virtual pond, and then participated in a field trip to a real pond augmented by mobile technologies. We are interested in understanding whether and how augmenting a field trip with information via handheld mobile devices can help students connect concepts learned in the classroom with observations during the field trip. Specifically, we are curious about how augmentation allows students to “see the unseen” in concepts such as photosynthesis and respiration as well as apply causal reasoning patterns they learned about in the classroom while using an inquiry-based immersive virtual environment, EcoMUVE. We designed an AR supported field trip with three different treatments: (1) a ‘visual’ treatment in which students were prompted to consider content or perspectives from EcoMUVE using videos and animations (2) a ‘text’ treatment in which students were prompted to consider content or perspectives from EcoMUVE using text and images, and (3) a ‘control’ treatment that did not specifically prompt students to think about content or perspectives from EcoMUVE. We used a mixed-methods research approach and collected data based on pre, mid, and post surveys; student responses to prompts captured in the notes and log files during the field trip; a post-field-trip survey; and performance on an in-class written assignment. On the field trip, we found that students in all three treatments more frequently referred to visible factors and direct effects than to invisible factors and indirect effects. There were few discernible differences between the text and visual prompted treatments based on responses in the notes and log files captured during the field trip. After the field trip, students exposed to the prompted treatments were more likely to describe invisible factors such as wind, weather, and human impacts, while students exposed to the control treatment continued to focus on visible features such as aquatic plants. These findings provide insights to designers who aim to support learning activities in outdoor and immersive learning environments.
Touchscreen interaction is nearly ubiquitous in today's computing environments. Children have always been a special population of users for new interaction technology: significantly different from adults in their needs, expectations, and abilities, but rarely tailored to in new contexts and on new platforms. Studies of children's touchscreen interaction have been conducted that focus on individual variables that may affect the interaction, but as yet no synthesis of studies replicating similar methodologies in different contexts has been presented. This paper reports the results across five years of focused study in one project aiming to characterize the differences between children's and adults’ physical touchscreen interaction behaviors. Six studies were conducted with over 180 people (116 children) to understand how children touch targets and make onscreen gestures. A set of design recommendations that summarizes the findings across the six studies is presented for reference. This paper makes the entire set available for reference in one place and highlights where the findings are generalizable across platforms. These recommendations can inform the design of future touchscreen interfaces for children based on their physical capabilities. Also, this paper outlines the future challenges and open questions that remain for understanding child-computer interaction on touchscreens.
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This volume constitutes the refereed proceedings of the 4th International Conference of the Immersive Learning Network, iLRN 2018, held in Missoula, MT, USA, in June 2018. The 12 revised full papers and the two revised short papers presented in this volume were carefully reviewed and selected from 57 submissions. The papers are organized in topical sections on environmental sciences, climate change, immersive technologies; immersive technologies in cultural heritage; immersive technologies in primary and secondary education; games and game design.
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and keeps a record of what events take place in the game. In addition to the WLAN adapters, each handheld device is fitted with custom-made proximity sensors, used to determine the players' location in physical space. Although the game is played on handheld computers and is maintained by a server, the players must roam a physical environment, the game arena, in order to explore the virtual game environment. Hence, walking between different places in the game arena, becomes equivalent to sailing between islands on ocean. As a player enters the proximity of an island, or another ship in the game arena, he or she has the choice to make landfall and explore the island or engage in battle, respectively. Most game-related actions are mediated by the graphical interface on the handheld computers, through which the players make choices to trade goods, explore islands, or fight opponents. However, in order for those options to become available to the users, they must move around in the game arena. To make landfalls on specific islands, or to bat-tle co-players, they must walk up to them, forcing the play-ers to not only watch the computer screen but also to look at other players and the real world. Social interaction in Pirates! Zagal et al. outline the characteristics of social interaction in multi-player games [5]. They define social interaction to be the "purposeful and bilateral communication that occurs between at least two human beings", which is either sponta-neous, or stimulated. Spontaneous social interaction occurs naturally between players, whereas stimulated social inter-action is interaction mandated by the game. When we cre-ated Pirates!, we specifically wanted to design a computer game that could be played in a social setting, i.e. where peo-ple are co-located in a physical space. Although it is intrin- ABSTRACT We show how proximity-sensing technology can be inte-grated into computer game design to provide richer game experiences in social settings. To explore the theme of prox-imity-triggered interaction, we have constructed Pirates! – a multi-player, wireless computer game for handheld comput-ers, played throughout a physical environment. The players' physical locations in the environment trigger game events.
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The paper introduces a pervasive digital artwork which harnesses live heart-rate and GPS data to create a novel experience on a Pocket PC. The aims of the project, the technologies employed and the results of a preliminary trial are briefly described.
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The design of a personal, mobile Knowledge and Learning Organisation System (KLeOS) is described. Studies of adult learning practice showed that learning activity is mobile between locations, time slots, and topic areas. Moreover, learning follows a hierarchical organisation at three operational levels: learning activities are discrete acts, which are grouped to form learning episodes, which in turn are grouped to form learning projects. KLeOS reflects this hierarchical structure and allows the user to organise and manage their learning experiences and resources as a visual timeline. In addition, it incorporates a knowledge map, which is updated as the user progresses through learning experiences. The interface of the organiser is based on the idea of timelines and employs project lines and activity lines to represent the user's learning over a lifetime. The organiser forms a bridge between the timeline and the knowledge map by tagging the nodes of knowledge with the context of the learning episode(s) within which that knowledge was acquired. The architecture of KLeOS allows it to be used on a number of different platforms, thus ensuring mobility.
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The use of computer simulations is changing the nature of scientific investigation and providing us unique insights into the way that the world works. As simulation moves from the desktop to more ubiquitous portable devices (such as PDAs), we can draw upon the unique affordances of these devices-portability, social interactivity, context sensitivity, connectivity, and individuality. The purpose of this research project is to develop and examine a new simulation platform that is designed from the ground up for handhelds to create augmented reality simulations (i.e. simulations that bridge virtual and real worlds). This paper describes environmental detectives, one such augmented reality simulation that is currently being developed at MIT. In the upcoming months, we develop and test this concept as well as produce a suite of authoring tools that students and teachers can use to design their own augmented reality simulations.
As simulations go from the desktop to portable devices, we hope to harness the unique affordances of handhelds including: (1) portability - can take the computer to different sites and move around within a site; (2) social interactivity -- can exchange data and collaborate with other people face to face; (3) context sensitivity-- can gather data unique to the current location, environment, and time; (4) connectivity -- can connect handhelds to data collection devices, other handhelds, and to a common network; (5) individuality - can provide unique scaffolding that is customized to the individual's path of investigation. A handheld learning environment might capitalize on this ability to bridge real and virtual worlds resulting in augmented reality simulations, simulations that layer virtual context on top of the real world.
Conference Paper
Mobile devices are often described as very personal objects and users are said to develop deep relationships with them. Motivated by such recurring statements, this paper introduces user-device attachment as a concept describing the relationship between users and their mobile devices. By drawing on literature from marketing, HCI, and sociology, the domain and dimensions of user-device attachment are described. Three dimensions: symbolism, aesthetics, and perceived necessity are conceptualized to represent elements of user-device attachment. An initial instrument for measurement is developed and assessed with exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. Corresponding with the conceptualized dimensions, a three-factor solution was found and confirmed using data gathered in two surveys (n<sub>1</sub>=130, n<sub>2</sub>=323). The resulting instrument provides a basis for future discussions and conceptual and empirical work on the phenomenon of user-device attachment in mobile user behavior. Possible benefits of applying the construct to areas like mobile advertising and mobile service development are identified.
On the Move between Proximate Distance and Distant Proximity
  • S Walz
Walz, S. (2002). On the Move between Proximate Distance and Distant Proximity. Master's thesis published by the University Tuebingen, Germany, Dept. of Cultural Anthropology, and commissioned by the University for Art Media and Design Zurich. University Tuebingen, Germany.
  • L Naismith
  • P Lonsdale
  • G Vavoula
  • M Sharples
Naismith, L., Lonsdale, P., Vavoula, G., Sharples, M. (2004) Literature Review in Mobile Technologies and Learning. Futurelab, UK ( iew203)