May 20, 2013 in Interests
I finally wrote up a short paper explaining a few of the things I tried in my Fall 2012 class. I wrote it up to present at The Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning in August (link).
The paper is embedded here:
Folks from AERA were asking how to get started with ARIS. While we’ll be running a workshop at GLS, there are easier ways.
For example, there videos on YouTube, made by awesome people, that can demo the platform and step new users through the process of making a game, as well as videos that showcase some implementations and ideas for it. Here’s a YouTube Playlist of them:
What’s in the playlist?
- Authoring Basic ARIS Objects (note: new address for editor: arisgames.org/editor)
- Valerie’s ARIS Tutorial
- ARIS Video Plaque Tutorial
- Aris Character Tutorial
- ARIS Item Tutorial
- and more…
The best way to learn ARIS is to make something with it. But START SMALL! — for your first experience, just open the editor and create an item and a character and a plaque and move them to the map. Click on them in the map, and turn on “Quick Travel”. Now open the ARIS app on your iOS device and Search for your game. Touch one of the items and see it open! AHA! Now go back into the editor and make it cooler! You’ll catch on in no time!
May 3, 2013 in Interests
The second session I participated in at the 2013 AERA (American Educational Research Association) conference focused on new media, and specifically the theme emerged from it, that it’s about the making. Whether it’s eTexts (Doug and Brian), or eTextiles (Kristin), or Scratch (Kate), or ARIS (me) — each session featured people learning by creating with new media.
Our slides and notes are embedded below.
- Session Submission Type: Paper Session
- Unit: SIG-Media, Culture, and Curriculum
- Scheduled Time: Sun Apr 28 2013, 2:15 to 3:45pm, Building/Room: Grand Hyatt / Curran
- Author on paper: Mobile Media Learning Classroom Practices and Integration
- Slides and Notes: Slideshare
I just got back from the 2013 AERA (American Educational Research Association) conference, where I got to present papers about Augmented Reality (and ARIS) in two sessions. The first, hosted by Chris Dede (Harvard), featured Eric Klopfer (MIT), Matt Dunleavy (Radford), Amy Kamarainen (Harvard), and Kurt Squire (Madison), with Chris Holden (UNM) and myself.
Eric talked about MIT’s very cool Taleblazer platform. Matt discussed the development of the gorgeous Fresh AiR platform, and Amy detailed one cool case of how EcoMobile was using it. Then Kurt, Chris, and I shared how we think ARIS might be a good model for scaling and sustaining these types of AR platforms.
It was a packed room of 100+ researchers, ~21 over capacity, and it was a lot of fun. In case you’re interested, I’ve included our slides and notes in this post.
- Session Submission Type: Symposium
- Unit: SIG-Applied Research in Virtual Environments for Learning
- Scheduled Time: Sat Apr 27 2013, 12:00 to 1:30pm, Building/Room: Grand Hyatt / Conference Theatre
- Author on paper: Scaling Augmented Reality Education Through Local Games
- Slides and Notes: Slideshare
In summer and Fall of 2012, I was thrilled to be involved in the Situated Learning Award by the Engage program at UW–Madison. I got to assist three instructors in creating and implementing mobile-based Situated Learning activities for their courses.
This post examines a case in Environmental Studies, where the instructor and her two graduate students built an elaborate three-role collaborative interactive tour of six buildings on campus where six issues in sustainability that the course covered throughout the semester: electricity, carbon, LEED, waste, water, and health. The buildings represented a range of challenges for these, from age of building (oldest and newest on campus) to primary usage (from offices to science labs). Students self-grouped into threes, each taking on one of three roles that had an associated “superpower” — the Engineer could “see through” walls and floors to understand hidden infrastructure, the Naturalist had “Nature’s language” and could communicate and understand natural systems, and the Historian had “time travel” and could talk to the ghosts of characters that once inhabited the buildings and campus.
Each group was tasked with following a linear tour of buildings with game-like activities and individual and group challenges at each (e.g. “Use a utility meter and this Jan 1 reading to calculate the electricity used in this building since then”). They were given a short survey after each building, and a longer one at the end of the activity. The 2-3 hour activity was revisited in class discussion throughout the semester as course themes were covered (e.g. “Remember when you were in the mechanical room of [oldest campus building], and saw defunct wood fired boilers next to the current steam pipes…?”). As this paper is being written, the course is still underway, so only preliminary results from surveys are available for analysis. Initial evaluation is bolstered by author observations over six implementation sessions.
In summer and Fall of 2012, I was thrilled to be involved in the Situated Learning Award by the Engage program at UW–Madison. I got to assist three instructors in creating and implementing mobile-based Situated Learning activities for their courses. This post examines a case where the instructor (Tim Frandy) used the ARIS platform (ARIS, 2012) on mobile devices and light augmented reality to supplement in-class activities and investigate place.
The activity was designed for the third and fourth week of class. Students self-organized into groups of five, and were given one iPad (with an unlimited data plan) per group. In the first two weeks, they had an overview of the themes of the course, and were tasked with identifying those themes as depicted on campus in a place, a piece of folk art, and two stories (interviews) of a significant campus event for a student. They were given two-and-a-half weeks to use an ARIS (arisgames.org) activity on the iPad to document and geotag these things, and to tag them with 1) the folklore theme they address. 2) their class rank (freshman ,sophomore, etc.), and 3) their username. They also were asked to comment on two others’ notes, and to visit the location of at least one peer’s note. Analyzed data includes student in-game notes and comments, post-activity reflective essays, and instructor interview. Themes were collated and validated using intercoder reliability (Kurasaki 2000).
Scaling experiences through the Web Notebook
As a server-based GPS game, every movement and decision by players are logged. To scale and share individual experiences to class ones, ARIS maps out notes in the Web Notebook, where they are grouped and displayed according to tags or contributors. The web notebook allowed for reflection on notes after the three-week activity.
In the web Notebook, nearby notes are clustered together. When clicked, the map zooms to the boundaries of the notes within the cluster.
Notes can be clicked on and viewed so students can revisit their own and others’ notes for reflection.
Students found the assignment engaging because it forced them to think about and identify course concepts that were visible in familiar places — their own campus and daily lives.
Student: “The ARIS project was one of the most engaging projects I have taken on so far in college. It managed to keep me interested by providing a set of guidelines that had to be followed while still keeping it open enough to include what interested you.”
They benefited from sharing what they noticed with their peers, and from seeing and and commenting on what their classmates had geotagged. The sharing resulted in their seeing more examples of course content tied concretely to places on campus that they encounter daily.
Student: “Freshmen tend to choose residence halls or places of academics or business. Upperclassmen tend to choose places that are not associated with the University such as a public park maybe. I think this is because the older you get, the more likely you are to live off campus.”
All was not perfect though: students and instructors/TAs reported a great deal of frustration with the technical aspects of the assignment — specifically, in uploading large videos via the cellular data system.
Student: “We sometimes struggled to get things posted to the game seemingly from glitches, and sometimes struggled to access the game itself, but considering this was the first run through with students, on the whole it went quite smoothly.”
The instructor and Teaching Assistants confirmed that student field notes demonstrated a good understanding of course concepts and themes, effectively applied. In their reflective essays, students further demonstrated expanded understanding of course concepts gained from peers’ notes.
Student: “The group who interviewed the State Street drummer expected to hear about why he drums on the street, but instead received a history lesson about the Uribai people. A large part of folklore is communication and interpretation. When the interviewer asked the man about himself, he may have interpreted that to mean they were asking about him and his people. It seems that he strongly values his cultural background and that his identity spreads much further than himself as an individual.”
The sharing of examples also allowed students to aggregate recurring themes.
Student: “One of the biggest recurring themes I found when going through the notes from the other teams in the game was the self-representation of student life. Not only how students represent themselves here on campus by what they do, how they act and things like that, but also what that says about the students and how it exemplifies certain values that we are proud to hold ourselves to here on campus.”
Collaboration and Community Building
Beyond course concepts, the instructor and students felt class collaboration and community was enhanced. In the notes, this was evidenced by comments students left each other (image above). The instructor also reported an increase in class community, which he attributed to the mobile situated learning activity:
Instructor: “By using an ARIS game at the beginning of the semester, students were forced to engage in collaborative problem solving from the start of the course. I noticed after the game was done, students were less likely to see themselves as individuals in a classroom, and more as a community of students with the common aims of learning together and from each other”
In which good folks from the Tarrant Institute create an ARIS activity for Carmen Petrick Smith’s undergraduate educational technology course. Here’s an excerpt from their Storify piece of what they did:
ARIS is a mobile tablet-based gaming environment, based on the idea of augmenting scavenger hunts with more information about a related story or lesson plan. For instance, if you were teaching the Narnia books, you could have students move around the school as if they were moving through Narnia. You could have them talk to Aslan (in the form of a playground sculpture) and shoot through the halls on quests to save the world beyond the wardrobe.
Anyway, that’s not what we did.
What we did was take the story of John Pearl Gifford, 19th century physician, social activist, founder of the Gifford Medical Center and grave robber, and develop a mini-game around the historical context that allowed Gifford to be both a doctor and a felon.
This morning, we gave the students a first crack at working through the initial two levels of the game: locating the Librarian in Waterman and scanning QR codes to get hold of teeth to sell.
and what they learned about playtesting:
I learned a huge amount this morning not just about the mechanics of game-play but also how players interact with — and EXPECT TO interact with a game. A huge takeaway from this morning is just how much of the text in plaques I should convert to videos. It’s one thing to have a photo of Igor and a list of background text underneath, but a very different thing to take your Igor doll out on campus and shoot a video of him with narration in the background.
…Not that I have an Igor doll at all.
And as a group who are excited about the possibility of getting ARIS into classrooms where students can use it to construct their own narratives about a lesson plan, and interact with each other in a challenging, knowledge-share, this exercise was priceless.
Read more here. Dig on Vermont!
The article is actually called 30 Surprising (And Controversial) Ways Students Learn, and includes a lot of things that readers of this blog probably already know, like:1. Playing scary and violent video games help children master their fears in real life.
2. Video games can lessen disruptive behaviors and enhance positive development in ADHD children
5. Gardening improves children’s desire to learn and boosts their confidence
8. Music and movement augment children’s language capabilities during the preschool years
9. Green spaces or natural backyards elevate children’s learning through discovery
Then there was #11.
11. Children who construct their own video games experience increased cognitive and social growth
In a primitive society, children learned necessary survival skills by mimicking their elders. It was essentially, learning in action. In modern times, academics are often taught rather than “shown”- removing this type of opportunity from the educational process.
However, research outlined in the Lookstein Online Journal indicates that children show cognitive growth when they are given the task of creating their own video game. In order to develop such a game, students must use prior knowledge, create links between scenes, and take control of their learning through trial and error.
In essence, it is another way to create and active learning environment similar to ancient history. Children must use logic, survival skills, and generate new ideas and solutions in order to complete the game.
And it went on:
19. Play-based learning increases children’s attention span
Read the rest, then go plan and make and play an ARIS game!
ConsultingwithARISPlace-BasedLearningPBL As you probably know, PBL is Place-Based Learning (similar to PBI), and ARIS is my current platform of choice for for such learning activities. Recently, I wrote a one-page document about ARIS, and this week I began working on a longer guide on what types of activities an instructor might want to create, with examples. Here’s a draft.