Challenge 3: Physical activity is an integral part of learning

4 Aug

CC, by Incase from Flickr

Educators understand the importance of the integration of physical activity in the learning experience. However, that activity was usually restricted to the classroom, playground, and gym. Physical activity can also be effective in increasing student achievement through traditional “academic” subjects.
We feel that the Civil War Augmented Reality Project promotes physical activity through the encouragement of movement from place to place, and also in interactive scenarios where the users race to meet a time limit or compete with other users.
Health experts also have encouraged such practices, and the outdoor spaces of the United States could be both gym, library, and museum. As we like to say, “Get off of the wire and into the world.”

Challenge 2: The internet has not really “knocked down the classroom walls”

3 Aug

Here is our latest daily discussion of the challenges that the Civil War Augmented Reality Project is designed to meet.

Challenge #2: The internet has not really “knocked down the classroom walls.”

When the technological revolution of the end of the 20th century brought the web to classrooms, excited educators like ourselves were transformed. Many of us believed that the connectivity to the rest of the world effectively “knocked down” the walls of our classrooms. While the connected classroom was incredibly revolutionary, we don’t feel that the process has gone far enough.
Connected classrooms, though important, have not inherently encouraged an exploration of the outside world. Power wires and desktop computers still hold up the classroom walls. We feel that the next technological step, the use of augmented reality in education, effectively will dissolve the walls. As our motto suggests, effective learning sometimes requires students and teachers to “get off of the wire and into the world.”
When the walls are gone, the world, in responsible hands, becomes the classroom. Not only the classroom, but also a museum and library with artifacts, documents, structures, and stories to explore. Rather than being organized by time period or the Dewey Decimal System, the new world museum will physically add the “place” to time and subject.

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?

Podcast About the Project on iTunes

23 Jul

Jeff Mummert had the honor of being interviewed by Dave Solon in his podcast Twenty Minutes for Tech, which is available in iTunes U. Dave did a great job in guiding listeners to an understanding of augmented reality, and the benefits of the Civil War Augmented Reality Project in general (although we went over our “Twenty Minutes”:). You can listen to the podcast through this link to iTunes, it is podcast number 39.

Important Friends of the Project

23 Jul

Ever since we introduced our proposal to the public, we had institutions contact our project with interest in partnership. After quite a bit of discussion, we’d like to announce the firms who are now our special friends.
First of all, the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We were most interested in this partnership because not only does the museum promote a fair, responsible interpretation of the conflict (with slavery as a cause!), but is also parked near the spot of the largest Union training camp in the US during the war. Geographically, the museum sits within sight of the northernmost advance of the Confederate forces in 1863, and would be an excellent hub for our project. We will be developing an AR experience for the museum in the next few months in order to showcase our project.

Secondly, Winvolve, a new media development firm from Toronto, has also offered their services and expertise to the project. Most recently, Winvolve produced a nationwide AR campaign for Quizno’s restaurants.
We have also, quite honestly, been receiving special treatment from a few AR firms who are also interested in allowing our project to be produced on their platforms: specifically Junaio and Tagwhat.

Teachers and Techies

16 Jul

Thanks to Vicki Davis over at the Cool Cat Teacher Blog,

and thanks to the augmented reality blog Augmented Planet for for a nice shout out for our Project!

Vote for Us on America’s Great Outdoors

12 Jul

I was directed to an interesting initiative by Susan Star Paddock over at the No Casino Gettysburg Network (we’re big fans of this organization, by the way). Organized by the Obama Administration as a “national dialogue about conservation in America to learn about some of the smart, creative ways communities are conserving outdoor spaces,” America’s Great Outdoors: Your Ideas for Protecting the Places You Love, is now the proud home of our idea, The Civil War Augmented Reality Project. We believe that our project is an example of the way that historic sites can increase revenues and become truly informative and interactive. If you think so, too, we’d love it if you could “promote” our idea on the site.

Besides our America’s Great Outdoors campaign, also today we learned of a fabulous new review of our idea by Rene Tyree over at Wig-Wags, a military history and American Civil War blog.