Martin Harvey - iSpot


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Presentation delivered by Martin Harvey, The Open University, as part of the Apps for Engagement session at Communicate 2012: Breaking Boundaries

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  • iSpot’s principal aim is to help people learn about wildlife identification. Knowing a species’ name unlocks access to existing knowledge, and enables one to add to that knowledge.
  • The public - Need to have at least a casual interest in wildlife? Can use of iSpot can create that interest? Specific targeting at certain groups - ‘hard to reach’ audiences through OPAL and mentors; ‘experts’ who can help provide identifications
  • iSpot helps people learn about wildlife, using social networking technology to link novices and experts What is there to engage with? Website: encourages biological recording best practice, while keeping it as simple as possible to use A friendly and knowledgeable community of people interested in wildlife: dialogue between novices and experts Apps: provide opportunity to bring more people in, and engage them in more ways, e.g. ‘live’ in the field
  • Add with or without ID; looks quite complex but many fields are optional – conflict between good practice for bio recording and simplicity of use – approach is to encourage good practice through community example, keeping mandatory fields to a minimum
  • Shows differing reputation for different taxon groups
  • Leads to engagement with schemes and societies
  • One hurdle to engagement is registration, essential for the site to work: Easy to register - Minimal requests for personal data - Safety online, no direct messaging/emailing
  • Reputation system – incentive to get involved, recognition of expertise, weighting of most likely identifications Observations and identifications structured to encourage information and debate: what the species is, but also why Opportunity for interaction with experts Recognition of other organisations (local and national) through badges and links – further destinations once engagement established Linking online activity with outdoor experience – mentors amplify this effect Apps allow us to take this further
  • Mobile versions can be used on any phone with web browser Supports both larger screen with touch interface (eg iPhone) – quite easy to use And small screen and cursors (ie any phone with web access) – quite fiddly!
  • The iSpot app provides the main functionality of the website. Android only at moment, c. 250 downloads of beta version. Upgrade out soon! Opens up possibility of ID in the field. Adds “Around Here” functionality.
  • Are digital communications an effective way of engaging a wider audience with their local environment and with biological recording? – Yes, but the converse is also true.
  • Martin Harvey - iSpot

    1. 1. The OPAL iSpot projectMartin Harvey, The Open UniversityLinks: Email: Twitter: @iSpot_uk
    2. 2. © bigvern / Flickr CCEngagement Why is the engagement important or desirable? Who is being engaged?
    3. 3. BSBI - Herbaria at Home Why engage? • “The correct name of an organism is the quantum of biodiversity knowledge.”
    4. 4. Who is being engaged?
    5. 5. Gaining a reputation
    6. 6. iSpot badges
    7. 7. What creates engagement?• Community discussion: what the species is, but also why• Reputation system• Interaction with experts• Recognition of other organisations through badges and links• Links online activity with outdoor experience
    8. 8. Identification keys for mobile usephones with large touch screen phones with small screen and cursor
    9. 9. • Can wildlife engage people with digital?• Can digital engage people with wildlife? © Keith Bowey, iSpot mentor, JET project
    10. 10. Links: Email: Twitter: @iSpot_uk