Meeting the Challenges of Education, Tech, and Public History

2 Aug

After meeting with a large number of educators, historians, Civil War enthusiasts, heritage tourism experts and others interested in supporting the Civil War Augmented Reality Project, we’ve realized that what makes our Project special is the way in which we’ve tailored our ideas to meet several specific challenges in education, technology, and public history. So, what are the challenges, and how does our Project meet them?

The challenges as we see them:

  1. Historic sites rarely offer real interactivity
  2. The internet has not really “knocked down the classroom walls”
  3. Physical activity is an integral part of learning
  4. The educational value of AR vs. the number of persons who would actually experience it
  5. The number of communities with ignored but valuable stories to tell
  6. The land ownership and zoning controversies in public history

We’ll be posting our strategy for meeting each of the challenges, one challenge per day this week. Here’s one for today..

“1. Historic sites rarely offer real interactivity”

We love the way in which a large number of historic sites are trying to bring 21st century technology to their visitors’ experiences. However, we’re concerned about the use of the term “interactive” in describing many user experiences.
Many of these “interactive” activities involve electronic tours or a set of touchscreens where visitors choose the video clip they’d like to see. While electronic touring is certainly a part of the Civil War Augmented Reality Project, we see the real purpose of our Project to provide true interactivity. Visitors will be given a story about real people and given the ability to choose their way through the experience, and learning through the process the real story in comparison to the chosen story. What better way to understand the challenges met by past individuals, and how those individuals were a part of the grander narrative of a historic site?

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2 Responses to “Meeting the Challenges of Education, Tech, and Public History”

  1. Mike August 4, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

    Are you planning to have several units tied together in some way (even by user selection) and thereby allow visitors to follow a story thread decision (such as North or South point of view) from location to location?

  2. acwarproject August 5, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    Quite possibly, Mike. That’s an interesting idea, thanks for your input!

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