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  • Multiple ways to find activities
  • Finding activities
  • One of the other ways activates can be found and tracked is through a customizable ranger station. This site contributes to the success of the interpretive  activities,like an online park where WebRangers can feel like real Park Rangers.
  • Provides virtual rewards and real encouragement.
  • Online community where visitors can share their park experiences with others.
  • Explore the site and the interpretive activities: http://www.webrangers.us 
  • Puma Challenge One of the most effective interpretive activities on the site is the Puma Challenge.  Consistently, feedback on this activity rates it among the highest.Many participants: “I felt I was a puma!” A very high complimentWe touched the participant so deeply, they identified with the mountain lion and their plight.
  • Begins with a little background about these cats: where they live, what they eat, how much they need to eat. We present a couple screens of information, then we ask our audience to participate…question to engage them.A lot of thought needed to go into this: creating the overall concept creating a game that feels like a real board game experience making sure that the player does not get stuck, unable to finish, for hours on end. If the experience were totally random, that could happen. So we needed to control things to some extent.What do you all think? Any impact on you? Did you want to learn more or find a way to help? We hope so.We provide some hope and encouragement - what parks are doing to try to help.How did we come up with an idea and approach? We worked closely with a park ranger / SME who: provided us with content and inspiration, idea of the 500-year span. worked out the rest of the approach as a team. 
  • Sled Dog Patrol North, to Alaska. Close collaboration with a park ranger/SME.We do not go very far without asking questions to engage our audience. Basic information about how and why sled dogs are used. How does the musher make the dogs start, stop and turn? BNow, let’s learn some of those commands and listen to them. Practice – using the arrow keys on the keyboard. Team building - most important task a musher has. Connect the idea of putting together a team based on strengths and weaknessesUnlikely that our audience will ever see a sled dog team, let alone put one together, the lessons learned here can apply to real life. We ask them to build their own team. learn about each dog and its strengths. based on those strengths, we need to place the dog where it will be of most value. For their success, we have a video that shows the musher’s perspective. For fun, we throw in this howl.---Even if you were in Alaska, this kind of experience would be hard to give to visitors. Multi sensory experience. This activity took working with a park ranger / SME who really knew this topic and who had access to some really excellent resources – I the audio recordings, the biographies for the dogs the video. great selection of photographic images for ‘cool’ transitions in the beginning.And, we been contacted by corporatiosn that wanted to use this as a model for creating their team building exercises. 
  • Sled Dog Patrol “North, to Alaska!” Required close collaboration with a park ranger/SME.To keep the audience engaged, we do not go very far without asking questions to engage our audience. The activity includes basic information about how and why sled dogs are used… such as: how does the musher make the dogs start, stop and turn?The activity provides the opportunity to learn some of those commands and listen to them. And you can practice using the arrow keys on the keyboard. Considering that team building is the most important task a musher has, we wanted to connect the idea of putting together a team based on strengths and weaknesses.It is unlikely that our audience will ever see a sled dog team, let alone put one together, but the lessons learned here can apply to real life. We ask them to: build their own team. learn about each dog and its strengths. Then,based on those strengths, we need to place the dog where it will be of most value. Rewarding them for their success, we have a video that shows the musher’s perspective. For fun, we throw in a real sled dog howl.---Even if you were in Alaska, this kind of experience would be hard to give to all visitors. This activity took working with a park ranger / SME who really knew this topic and who had access to some really excellent resources: the audio recordings, the biographies for the dogs the video. We had a great selection of photographic images for ‘cool’ transitions in the beginning.And, we been contacted by corporations that wanted to use this as a model for creating their team building exercises. 
  • Swimming for HomeLess of a story, more of a game.Through the game itself, we educate. Swimming for Home was inspired by a simple, paper-based game, similar to a maze, a line is drawn to connect the salmon from the ocean to its spawning grounds.Translated that concept to this activity. With this activity, we learn by “making mistakes.” We had to make the game challenging enough that they would make mistakes, yet easy enough that anyone can finish it…. Or, so we hope.
  • Swimming for HomeThis one is less of a story, more of a game.Through the game itself, we educate. Swimming for Home was inspired by a simple, paper-based game, similar to a maze where aline is drawn to connect the salmon from the ocean to its spawning grounds.We translated that concept to this activity and, with this activity, we learn by “making mistakes.” We had to make the game challenging enough that the audience would make mistakes, yet easy enough that anyone can finish it.
  • This graphic summarizes the things to think about when assessing the scale of your activity.
  • What Does It Take?Before deciding whether you are ready to create your own activity, understand the significant effort that will likely be required. Make sure that you are ready to commit the time and resources required to make it happen. Thinking about the activities on the WebRangers site, some represent several days work; others have taken many months, and some have taken years to complete. Before deciding whether you are ready to create your own activity, it is important to understand the significant effort that will likely be required. You need to make sure that you are ready to commit the time and resources required to make it happen.
  • Why did some happen so quickly and others take so long?Based mostly on the scope of the activity, and whether is was based off an existing program or not.Make an honest effort to understand where you’ll be starting from. What do I mean by that?If the activity (new OI) is based on an existing program, you might have all the resources and the idea for the narrative or storyline may already be developed. If this is the case, development time and effort will likely be smaller.If, on the other extreme, this activity is to be based on a topic that is new for you and your team, recognize that just getting an initial story draft could be quite a challenge. if you do not have the graphics or other visual or audio resources readily available, your challenge can be greatly increased.
  • If you are fortunate enough that money is no problem, or if you feel that you may be able to define your budget based on the scope of the activity, then you canAssess the scale of the activity after you analyze how much time you will want to put into it.Or you can base the scale of the activity on the budget. Instead of the other way around.
  • Approach You may have already have a vision for how the activity will work.If not, the WebRangers website may give you some inspiration dozens of different approaches you may find a version or variation that you would like to emulatePerhaps one will inspire an idea Or maybe your activity will be best with an approach different from any that have been done before.
  • In order to figure a lot of these things out, you may want to start with a brainstorming session.To start – don’t worry about technical or resource limitations Get the creative juices flowing. Keep track of the ideas and see how many you can come up with in an hour or two. While  you are doing this, you may have a “Wow!” moment where an idea bubbles up and just seems perfect. Some of our best activities have come from a brainstorming session where we came up with a great approach, but we kept going, coming up with variations on that original idea. In the end, that original great idea is hard to even find in the final concept that we decided to go with — but it served as the fertile soil from which greater ideas germinated.
  • With the Powder Monkey, photos of a tall ship needed to be taken, and then photos of models posed in the correct position were also needed. Using Photoshop, the developers created the scenes actually used in the activity. Needless to say, this can be time consuming and more expensive.
  • A visual prototype providesstatic visuals to show overall look and feel of the activity and perhaps provide an idea of how it will work. Prototypes can be uploaded to a website or sent around in an email message.They should be reviewed by everyone involved with the project and include receiving feedback from representatives of the target audience. Adjustments will then be made based on the feedback.
  • With the functional prototype approved, and enough of a storyboard developed and approved, creation of the actual activity can proceed.If the resources specified in the storyboard are available, they are incorporated as specified.If resources need to be created, that can happen prior to, or at the same time as activity development.It is very important that the content in the storyboard is approved by subject matter experts before actual programming takes place. Make sure the CompletedActivity is thoroughly Tested* Design & ProgrammingTo save time, activity programming and graphic design can usually happen simultaneously with final storyboard development. * At various times throughout this process, feedback from the target audience should be sought. This may include structured analysis, or it may be informal assessments.
  • Inaddition to the web, a kiosk version of the same activity could be in your visitor center, or similar place.
  • When adding the finished activity to a web page – provide links to related websites. Hopefully your activity will make your audience want to learn more and by providing links, you can make that easier for them to continue their discovery.Encourage feedback so visitors tell you how they feel about the activity which is especially important if you are planning to do more in the future. Learn what visitors like and don’t like since this can help guide any future development, and maybe make changes to the “finished” activity. Unlike those published on paper, an online activity can be changed at any time, with relative ease.
  • Keep text short and bold the important points, we increase the likelihood of what's on the screen actually being read.Remember, if you have a lot of text you want to provide for those who are really interested, you can provide that information as an optional link. Consider effective wayside or visitor center exhibits... Which is more likely to capture and hold attention: a lengthy, text heavy sign, or a compelling image with minimal text?
  • Use pop-ups for anything that is not essential to the story, or for definitions.(kids will click on anything…)
  • This could be multiple-choice question, but ideally it would go beyond that.
  • EuroparksGermany has been working with the US NPS to learn from what we have done with the WebRangers website and online activities they are currently in the process of creating their own online Junior Rangers program.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Vince Hellane
      Maryland, USA
    • 2. Creating Engaging Online Interpretation
      The Technological Tilden?
      Attempt to engage, educate and provoke
    • 3. Creating Engaging Online Interpretation
      Insider access
      To publically inaccessible experiences, too dangerous or fragile to show all visitors.
    • 4. Creating Engaging Online Interpretation
      Insider access
      To recreations of environments that no longer exist.
    • 5. Creating Engaging Online Interpretation
      Educate about
      • Your facility
    • Creating Engaging Online Interpretation
      Reach Out to the World!
    • 10. Creating Engaging Online Interpretation
      Reach Out to the World!
      Reach people who may never have the opportunity to visit your park or facility
      Provide more insight and enhance real-world experience for those that can visit
    • 11. National Park Service
      WebRangers Success
      Webrangers.us
    • 12. U.S. National Park Service
      WebRangers Success
      USA: 848, 479
      UK: 4,471
      Germany: 4,198
      Canada: 7,718
      Russia: 247
      Japan: 942
      Spain: 705
      China: 411
      Mexico: 380
      India: 804
      Egypt: 588
      Thailand: 504
      Brazil: 210
      Australia: 2,111
      International visitor comparison
      Webrangers.us
    • 13. National Park Service
      WebRangers Success
      Multiple ways to find activities
    • 14. National Park Service
      WebRangers Success
    • 15. National Park Service
      WebRangers Success
      A customizable ranger station for registered members serves like an online park where WebRangers can feel like real Park Rangers and track their progress
    • 16. National Park Service
      WebRangers Success
      Provides virtual rewards and real encouragement
    • 17. National Park Service
      WebRangers Success
      Online community where members can share their park experiences with others
    • 18. National Park Service
      WebRangers Success
      Webrangers.us
    • 19. National Park Service
      Successful Interpretative Activities
      The Puma Challenge
      Sled Dog Patrol
      Swimming for Home
    • 20. National Park Service
      Successful Interpretative Activities
      http://www.webrangers.us/activities/puma/
    • 21. National Park Service
      Successful Interpretative Activities
      Puma Challenge
      Invites the viewer to participate by asking questions to engage them
      We provide some hope and encouragement - what parks are doing to help
    • 22. National Park Service
      Successful Interpretative Activities
      http://www.webrangers.us/activities/sleddog/
    • 23. National Park Service
      Successful Interpretative Activities
      Sled Dog Patrol
      Result of close collaboration with a park ranger/SMEs
      Learn about more than dogs,team building - Putting together a team based on strengths and weaknesses
      Unlikely that our audience will ever see a sled dog team, let alone put one together. This kind of experience would be hard to give to visitors
      The lessons learned here can apply to real life
      Reward with video and fun element.
    • 24. National Park Service
      Successful Interpretative Activities
      http://www.webrangers.us/activities/swimhome/
    • 25. National Park Service
      Successful Interpretative Activities
      Swimming for Home
      Less of a story, more of a game
      Inspired by a paper-based maze, tracing the path of the salmon to its spawning grounds
      Learn by “making mistakes”
    • 26. Creating Interactive Activities
      What Does it Take?
      (more then you might think)
    • 27. Creating Interactive Activities
      What Does It Take?
      Beyond Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and excellent visuals…
    • 28. Creating Interactive Activities
      Assessment: What Does It Take?
    • 29. Creating Interactive Activities
      What Does It Take?
      A team (staff resources):
      • Writers
      • 30. Researchers
      • 31. Graphic Designers
      • 32. Programmers / Interactive Developers
      • 33. And perhaps: Photographer, videographer/editor, sound/audio engineer
    • Creating Interactive Activities
      What Does It Take?
      Internal?
      External/outsourced?
      Combination?
      A team (staff resources):
      • Writers
      • 34. Researchers
      • 35. Graphic Designers
      • 36. Programmers / Interactive Developers
      • 37. And perhaps: Photographer, videographer/ editor, sound/audio engineer
    • Creating Interactive Activities
      What Does It Take?
      Time:
      Some represent days of
      work; months even years
      to complete
      Must understand the significant effort required
      Be ready to commit the time and resources required for a good result
    • 38. Creating Interactive Activities
      Where to Start?
      Familiar Topic
      If a narrative and storyline already developed, you may be well on your way toward starting development
      New topic
      Getting the initial story drafted before starting development might be a challenge
    • 39. Creating Interactive Activities
      Assessment: Follow these steps
      Identify Topic
      Assess Resources available
      Approaches for the activity are considered
      Assess the Viability of the approach
      • Compare the available resources
      • 40. Including financial resources
    • Creating Interactive Activities
      Assessment: Follow these steps
      Approach, i.e., what is the “hook”?
      Examples:
    • Creating Interactive Activities
      Assessment: Staff, Budget, Media
      Do you have the manpower to create the activity, from start to finish, or the budget to outsource it, or a combination of these?
      What kinds of visual and audio resources do you have available to support the topic?
    • 45. Creating Interactive Activities
      Assessment: Media Resources
      If you do not have them, you need to think about taking Photos, shooting Video, Illustrating, or recording Sounds.
      If you have extensive resources, consider who will take the time to do research and organize them.
      Answering these questions will help determine the kind of activity you should create.
    • 46. Creating Interactive Activities
      Assessment: Staff / Budget
      Unless you can take on the entire project with your in-house staff, do you have a budget to pay for a development team
      to take your ideas and turn them into a finished product?
    • 47. Creating Interactive Activities
      Assessment: Staff / Budget
      Even if internal staff – need to think about:
      • Buying software
      • 48. Training on how to use it
      • 49. Providing them with enough time to dedicate to the project
       
    • 50. Creating Interactive Activities
      Budget: Example Project Costs
      On theLOW end:
      Several done for less than $5,000 US.
      On the HIGH end:
      Some have cost more than $30,000 each.
      (Excluding the Parks internal costs to provide subject matter experts, work on writing and gathering resources. )
    • 51. Creating Interactive Activities
      Budget: Example Project Costs
      The average price: $20,000 to $25,000 range.
      Actual price depends on:
      • Resources you have available
      • 52. Roles the vendor will play
      • 53. Complexity of the interactive approach
    • Creating Interactive Activities
      Summary of Assessment Process
    • 54. Creating Interactive Activities
      Development Process
      (steps for success)
    • 55. Creating Interactive Activities
      Follow these steps: Start Creating
      Choose an Approach
      Storyboard development begins
      Start gathering Resources
      Visual Prototype created
      Working Prototype created
      The final storyboard written
      • other visual resources, as specified in the storyboard, located or created
      The Activity is programmed
    • 56. Development Process
      1. Define Approach
      You may have already have a vision for how the activity will work.
      If not, the WebRangers website may give you some inspiration dozens of different approaches
      you may find that a variation
      that inspires an idea for yours
      Maybe it will be best with an approach different from any that have been done before.
    • 57. Development Process
      1. Approach
      Brainstorming could include:
      • Internal staff,
      • 58. Focus groups,
      • 59. Team with technical experience
      To start – don’t worry about technical or resource limitations
      Get the creative juices flowing!
    • 60. Development Process
      2. Storyboard Development
      Create a rough draft of a Storyboard.
      A Storyboard outlines the story, sequence and graphic/programming directions for the project.
      Convey the overall concept with details so it is clear how the activity will work.
    • 61. Creating Interactive Activities
      Follow these steps: Start Creating
      Development Process
      Flowcharts
      help
      convey
      concepts
      Create a rough draft of a Storyboard.
      A Storyboard outlines the story, sequence and graphic/programming directions for the project.
      Convey the overall concept with details so it is clear how the activity will work.
      Flowcharts can be helpful for organizing thoughts and visualizing the activity’s flow
    • 62. Development Process
      3. Gathering & Creating Media Resources
      In addition to the storyboard, before activity development can go very far, the developer/programmer will need the media resources.
      You may be locating or creating resources at the same time you are working on the storyboard, or afterwards.
    • 63. Development Process
      3. Gathering & Creating Media Resources
      You may be able to easily tap into resources that you have or that you have.
      Or, you may need to come up with images that do not exist.
    • 64. Development Process
      3. Gathering & Creating Resources
    • 65. Development Process
      3. Gathering Resources
      Image Usability:What makes a photo usable?
      Just because you have a picture of Ranger Bob in a suit, that does not
      mean that the picture really tells the
      story you have in mind.
      Can you tell that he works for your organization and not just another firefighter? Is he actually working at the job described in the storyboard?
    • 66. Development Process
      3. Media Resources & Rights
      If your plan calls for illustrations or photos… do you have them in your library, anddo you have the rights to reproduce them online?
      If video is required, do you have it on file and if not, who will be responsible for shooting and editing?
    • 67. Development Process
      3. Media Resources & Rights
      If realistic sound is part of the activity, is that available, with rights?
      If you do not have the resources or cannot produce them in house, the idea should still be explored further, but that may affect the cost
    • 68. Development Process
      4. Visual Prototypes
      Static visuals to show overall look and feel of the activity and perhaps provide an idea of how it will work.
    • 69. Development Process
      5. Working Prototype
      Limited functionality.
      Content from storyboard.
      Shows how it will work.
      Provide opportunity for review and feedback from everyone involved with the project
    • 70. Development Process
      6. Final Storyboard is written
      Other visual resources, as specified in the storyboard, located or created.
    • 71. Development Process
      7. Activity is Programmed
      Ensure storyboard and resources are approved BEFORE programming
      Ensure it is thoroughly Tested
    • 72. Development Process
      7. Activity is Programmed
      Everyone should review to make sure it is error free. Many minor adjustments can be made right up to deploying.
      Too late for major adjustments (fine-tuning of text and perhaps minor graphic adjustments may be OK).
    • 73. Development Process
      8. Activity is “published”
      Kiosk option
    • 74. Example of “published” activity
    • 75. Online Interpretation
      Technical Considerations
      & Conclusion
    • 76. Online Interpretation
      Technical Considerations
      Flash:
      More interactivity options engaging animation, superior data connectivity
      HTML:
      relatively easy, at least at a basic level, but may appear relatively flat
      Adobe Captivate:
      Flash-type files - does not require as much programming skill
    • 77. Online Interpretation
      Effective/Efficient Use of Text
      Keep text short and bold the important points to increase the likelihood it will be read.
      Less is more!
      Provide longer text content as an optional link for those who wish to read more.
    • 78. Online Interpretation
      Effective/Efficient Use of Text
    • 79. Online Interpretation
      Engage, ask for participation
      Unless your activity is a game, or totally interactive environment, intentionally engage through questions and tasks for participants.
    • 80. Online Interpretation
      Activity Length
      Try to keep the core between 15 and 20 minutes.
      With additional, optional information, participants may spend more than 20 minutes, but that will be because they are truly interested, engaged, and want to learn more.
      If it is compelling, the activity might make participants want to experience it again, perhaps exploring a path that was not taken the first time.
    • 81. Online Interpretation
      Conclusion
      EuroparksGermany has been working with the US NPS to learn from what we have done with the WebRangers website and online activities.
      Currently in the process of creating their own online Junior Rangers program.
    • 82. WebRangers
      WebRanger Statistics
      About 400,000 visitors per year.
      Over the past year, 156,000 have signed in to become WebRangers
      Over 7,000 have completed ALL the activities.
    • 83. WebRangers
      Feedback from visitors
      From WebRangerCheergabby:
      "This website teaches me that I and other people around me have to take care of nature. Before this website, I really did not care about nature. This website really touches me.”
    • 84. WebRangers
      Feedback from visitors
      From WebRangerParadise:
      "I think it is a really great web site for kids and adults of all ages where they can get together and discover the many great things God has put on this earth and for us to help preserve it to discover our own heritage! I love it!”
    • 85. WebRangers
      Feedback from visitors
      From: Screech
      Message:
”Itgets us kids to go out side and explore the world!”
       
      From: Nichols
      Message:
”Youlearn so much about nature and animals and stuff you wouldn't really even usally care about learning until now!”  
    • 86. WebRangers
      Feedback from visitors
      And, with all the kind words and thanks to come from visitors to the site, what do you think is most often requested from our audience?
      “More activities!”
       
       
    • 87. Online Interpretation
      Conclusion
      Join us and start expanding on the number of great online interpretive activities
      I believe that there are is a huge audience out there, across national boundaries, looking for more opportunities to learn whatever it is we want to teach, as long as it is presented in an engaging way.
    • 88. Thank you!
      http://www.dvinci.com
      dvinci@dvinci.com
      1-800-30-MEDIA
      (Produced for the 2011 NAI International Conference presented live at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort in Panama May 7, 2011 by Vince Hellane of d’Vinci Interactive)

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