Learning in the wild: designing for location-based experiences


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Talk given to the members of the HCI Centre at the University of Birmingham

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  • Mobile communications are taken for granted – we assume we can talk to people at any time from almost anywhere – beginning to see it as normal that we can also access information, take photos, record our thoughts with one device and share these with colleagues, friends and the wider world.We will explore how this has been done and offer support for those who want to do it themselves
  • Historical literacy concerning the Reform Riots in Nottingham, asking: What happened in the period of the riots?Historical empathy with the people involved: What were this period and these events like for different people?Historical interpretation: how were these events and their causes viewed from differing and/or conflicting perspectives
  • ‘MyArtSpace’ was a project that encouraged children visiting an art gallery or museum to record their experiences, using mobile devices, through the collection of artefacts (coded with 2-letter tags) and also enabled their own creation and upload of images, sounds and text. These multimedia were accessed after the trip and facilitated later reflection in a classroom setting, thus bridging informal and formal learning (Vavoula et al., 2009). MyArtSpace has now evolved into OOKL and is used by museums and other venues across the UK to digitise, re-present and promote the artefacts contained within each venue so that visitors might find a new way of interacting with them, both at the time of the visit and afterwards.Initially with an emphasis on museums, art galleries and botanic gardens, there is also the potential to use OOKL in open spaces and zoos. In the past, the user base has largely consisted of schools and their pupils; however OOKL can also be used now by the general public.  The data examined from OOKL consisted of ten different ‘stories’ that were published and made available to the OOKL community via the OOKL website. The ten stories comprised of 117 media items (an average of 11.7 media items per story). A story is created by a user as a reflection of their visit to a particular location or venue; the user records and uploads media items when visiting the location (images, audio or text – mobile creation of video is not currently supported) and later organises these into a record of their visit, which can be viewed online or downloaded as a PowerPoint file. The stories were selected at random but attempted to include a number of different venues in order to test the framework as extensively as possible. Venues included Kew Gardens, the D Day museum, a National Trust park, an environmental education centre in London and various urban locations.Peoples’ Collection Wales (Casgliad y Bobl) is a bilingual online resource and mobile phone app (Trails Cymru) aimed at collecting, interpreting, distributing and discussing the cultural heritage of Wales. It is a repository for existing digitised content from authoratitive sources as well as allowing users to upload their own multimedia relating to Welsh life and the history of Wales and its people. It allows for different sorts of categories to be created, such as themes, collections, stories or groups. Geographical trails can also be produced, that relate to location-specific artefacts; these trails can be created or viewed via a GPS-enabled mobile phone (Android OS or iPhone) to enable learning to take place in location. It is not geared towards a particular age group, but is inclusive to a large user base, whilst serving those primarily living in or visiting Wales.http://www.peoplescollectionwales.co.uk/Wild Maps is one of the tools provided by WildKnowledge, a company that specialises in delivering and uploading of mobile content via the Web for educational purposes. Like OOKL, it has a background in providing services and platforms for schools although it too has expanded to include new audiences such as tourists and also those working in the healthcare sector.  WildKnowledge has a suite of four tools:WildForm, WildKey, WildImage and WildMap. WildForm is a way of recording data electronically, replacing traditional pen-and-paper forms. It can automate some of the data gathering, such as date/time/GPS location etc. WildKey is an interactive decision tree (or branching database) tool that provides mobile decision support and was originally created to support biological field work, where pupils would use WildKey to identify flora and fauna. WildImage allows users to annotate images with metadata (named ‘Designated/Personal Interest Points’) that can itself contain images, text, web links, audio, video, forms and quizzes. WildMap, which was used here, allows users to create trails or tours that contain specific interest points (i.e. media items). Community-created WildMaps can be published on the WildKnowledge website and downloaded to any web-enabled mobile device. Three community-generated maps were available from the WildKnowledge website, however two of these were either empty or had been used as tests and only contained ‘trial’content. The remaining map contained 68 interest points (media items) which were then analysed using this framework. The map was a tour around a churchyard and focussed mostly upon the gravestones/stonework and the natural surroundings of the area.
  • But remains untested with real users or teachers
  • Learning in the wild: designing for location-based experiences

    1. 1. Learning in the wild:designing for location-based experiences Elizabeth FitzGerald Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University
    2. 2. Introduction• Mobile communications are now part of everyday life• Huge potential for utilising location-specific resources and rich multimedia experiences• How we can use these resources for effective contextual learning?• How can we design and evaluate location- based learning?
    3. 3. Types of mobile and contextual learning• Six general categories of activity: – Behaviourist: learning results in a change in learners’ observable actions – Constructivist: learners actively construct new ideas/concepts based on previous and current knowledge – Situated: learning occurs within authentic context and culture – Collaborative: learning through social interaction – Informal/lifelong: learning outside of formal settings – Learning and teaching support: help co-ordination of learners and resources Ref: Naismith, L., Lonsdale, P., Vavoula, G. & Sharples, M. (2005) Literature Review in Mobile Technologies and Learning. A report for NESTA Futurelab (available online).
    4. 4. Contextual learning (1)• Learning occurs in a series of contexts e.g. time, place, tasks/goals, resources, social activities – within and between groups and individuals• Learning also creates context through continual interactions between people, settings, technologies and other artefacts• Context can be seen as a film or movie: each scene represents a context state, one that follows on the previous one• Learners share artefacts and create mutual understanding through dialogue and physical interaction
    5. 5. Contextual learning (2)• Context can also be seen as an emergent property of interaction…• … i.e. how we augment human activity in context, instead of modelling it• The challenge is how to add value to locations or places with appropriate tools and materials• Can then enable people, individually and together, to create and maintain their own rich contexts for learning
    6. 6. Case Study 1:Augmenting the visitor experienceRef: Priestnall, Gary, Brown, Elizabeth and Mike Sharples (2009)A student-led comparison of techniques for augmenting the fieldexperience. Proceedings of the mLearn 2009Conference, Orlando, Florida, 26-30 Oct 2009, pp 195-198.
    7. 7. Aims To assess a range of techniques forexploring the use of digital geographic information to augment real scenes in the field Create a student-led exercise to encourage critical evaluation of these techniques to support the field experience (and mobile tourist guides).
    8. 8. Supporting learning about the landscape Eric Robson (Striding Edge Ltd)Sir Hugh Walpole Video
    9. 9. 1. Computer-generated Acetate
    10. 10. 2. CustomPDA-basedapplication
    11. 11. Screen visibility can be an issue … this is as good as it gets
    12. 12. 3. Mediascape on a mobile phone Audio of Wainwright VIDEO from Derwent Water Wainwright OS Photo
    13. 13. Phone-based mediascapes
    14. 14. 4. Google Earth on a Tablet PC
    15. 15. 5. Head-Mounted Display (partial VR) Geovisionary (Virtalis, Univ. Leicester, Univ. Nottingham)
    16. 16. Summary of student findings• Computer-generated acetate:  Successful format/simple, ‘electronic acetates’ a vision for the future?  Difficult in windy conditions, predetermined viewpoints a drawback.• Custom PDA application:  Sketching, legend & audio popular (but relevance?)  Stability, incl. GPS connectivity. Screen visibility in bright sunlight.• Mediascape on a mobile phone:  Easy authoring (control over media placement)  Screen size and visibility, graphical media less effective.• Google Earth on a tablet PC:  Large screen and Google Earth’s data exploration environment popular  Screen visibility, battery life, pen-based interaction (GE designed for desktop)• Head-Mounted Display:  Fun, engaging, good for heavily graphical information  Technical complexity, robustness, heavy, not waterproof!
    17. 17. Reflections on exercise• Relating digital information to features in the real world – How can digital representations be mapped onto the real world by the user – Information doesnt always relate to neat trigger regions – How do we mimic the in-field expert pointing things out?• In-field evaluation – Asking students to develop their own evaluation schema – Video diaries a promising technique• The role of graphics – Seek alternatives to heavily graphical representations – More emphasis on design of audio for in-field use.• Ease of use – Even tech-savvy students didn’t have time for complex mapping apps – The demand for simplicity was in evidence across all interactions
    18. 18. Implications and future work Beginning to exploit real-time Caistor Roman Town, East Anglia, UK. handheld Augmented Reality Data from Will Bowden (Archaeology) Need to develop design rules for mobile field guides which mimic the field expert. Reduced emphasis on graphics, new challenges in making geographically relevant audio. Google Maps Simple but effective? – all new geospatial and Navigation for handheld AR applications will need to strive to Android 2.0 move from being novelty apps to becoming killer apps.
    19. 19. Case Study 2: Hidden Histories: To the Castle!Refs:• FitzGerald, Elizabeth; Taylor, Claire and Craven, Michael (2012) To the Castle! A comparison of two audio guides to enable public discovery of historical events. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing (DOI 10.1007/s00779-012-0624-0).• FitzGerald, Elizabeth (2012) Assessing informal learning: a case study using historical audio guides. In: CALRG Annual Conference 2012, 19-20 June 2012, Milton Keynes, UK.
    20. 20. Overview of the project• Investigated how geolocated audio can be used to provide opportunities for historical learning in public history• Case study of the 1831 Reform Riot in Nottingham, content created by a local history group• Conducted 2 types of guided walk: – People-led – Technology-led
    21. 21. What we were trying to find out• Can mobile technology be used to convey historical empathy and learning from conflicting perspectives?• How were these two audio tours different or similar?• Did they provide an effective means of learning by the general public about local historical events?• How might these kinds of techniques can be used in the future or by other community groups?
    22. 22. To the Castle! ‘people-led’ walk
    23. 23. To the Castle! ‘technology-led’ walk
    24. 24. Not without problems
    25. 25. 7scenes – tracing the walk
    26. 26. Key findings around…• Mode of delivery• Number of participants and social interactions• Geographical affordances of places/spaces• User experience• Opportunities for learning• Other factors: – Technical problems – Length of audio – Political views of community group
    27. 27. Case Study 3: Situ8Ref: FitzGerald, E. (2012). Creating user-generated content for location-based learning: an authoring framework. Journal of Computer AssistedLearning, 28(3), pp. 195–207.
    28. 28. Designing location-based experiences• Context is king• Some media formats can be more suitable or compelling than others• Can we break away from ‘authoritative’ content to something a bit more personal?
    29. 29. Ad hoc learning in location• Anyone can be a field guide, through creation and delivery of user-generated geolocated content• Enables learning in location through serendipitous discovery of media placement• In-field authoring and editing of content• Enables reflection by user, either at the time or later on
    30. 30. A framework for authoring Use of language/media Type of Knowledge level Interaction –Landscape domain related to the Contextual aspects communication of content try to include: landscape1. form of 9. suggestion 16. describe shape, 23. Domain-specific: Temporal: 33. authenticity landscape colour, size 10. hint or beginner 26. is this info related to 34. relevance to2. common warning 17. use emotions or the time of year or everyday life intermediate knowledge personal response the seasons? 11. conversation 35. element of fun where advanced3. science 27. is this info related to 12. practical task appropriate 36. anything unusual specialist time of day?4. history or unexpected 13. reminiscence 18. use simple English 24. age-related?5. contemporary (short, commonly- 28. visibility of the 37. opportunity for 14. short textual (children might use used words) landscape and its reflection by the description not have the where possible features/landmarks user6. myth same knowledge 15. exhortation 19. avoid jargon but or level of 38. respect for7. symbol (e.g. ‘look do use understanding as Available resources: others and for carefully’)8. art appropriate an adult) the environment 1. other people language 25. Needs prior 39. the story behind knowledge? 2. experts the visible (e.g. 20. be culturally sensitive 3. leaflets photosynthesis in a leaf) 21. be clear and 4. notices/signs concise 22. orient the visitor appropriately
    31. 31. Analysis of existing content • Analysed 3 systems that contained user-created content: – OOKL – Peoples’ Collection Wales – WildMap Number of items (out of 217) Media type: Percentage (%) that contained that media type: … text 204 94.0 … audio 12 5.5 … video 2 0.9 … 1 photo 166 76.5 … 2 or more photos 33 15.2 … web link (URL) 13 6.0
    32. 32. Impact of this work• Content analysis  can guide creation of user- generated content / provide framework for authoring and aid metacognition• Help curation of user-generated content + tagging/filtering; potential for personalisation• Media created should be of higher quality• Use the framework to structure learning aims and outcomes
    33. 33. Situ8: the challenge• To develop new models of technology-enhanced learning based on the activity of capturing, filtering and presentation of crowd-sourced locational information• Basically, how to capture and deliver educational media – In location – About location – On-the-fly/dynamically• Also how to situate this information within specific physical and social contexts to enable learning to occur
    34. 34. Our app: how it works• Anyone can be an author• Create media for yourself and/or others to access• Can be used in fieldwork, to upload observations and data• Can also be used for leisure activities – a natural evolution from taking photos on holiday• Also give fascinating insights into how other perceive their surroundings• Provide both formal and informal opportunities to learn more about the environment/place/space
    35. 35. Overview of Situ8• App available for Android phones• Can create and view MOs (media objects)• All MOs are public• A MO can be text, image, audio, video• Media is hosted/streamed through third-party services• Need Internet access for it to work, also GPS• Only basic user accounts (username, no password)
    36. 36. Current state of play• Currently in private ‘alpha’ testing mode with tame users• Can be used as testbed for new projects, to do with capture of location-based media• Development of Situ8 web portal currently underway, completion date July 2013: funded by OpenScience Laboratory to develop citizen science platform
    37. 37. Future development• Features planned for future releases also include: – Being able to view nearby MOs on a map – Having full user accounts, with passwords, user profiles etc. – Users to have ability to edit and delete MOs – Adding tags and categories – Filtering and searching MOs, according to a user’s interests, location or other contexts such as author or date – Local caching of MOs to enable asynchronous upload/download, for when users are not connected to the internet
    38. 38. Summary• Whistle-stop tour of location-based mobile learning• Educational affordances and context• Selection of case studies – Augmenting the visitor experience – To The Castle – Situ8
    39. 39. A few lessons learned• ‘In the wild’ not necessarily to do with physical environment• Can be tensions between – Researcher and communities in which they work – Innovative ‘catwalk’ technology vs ready-to-wear technology – Changing or maintaining practices• Tech problems not gone away… but now competing with other challenges around user- generated data/content, privacy, ownership etc
    40. 40. Other questions• Do we need new ‘in the wild’ theories?• How do we make sense of augmented or blended spaces? – Do existing theories of situated learning help explain what is so compelling about learning in location?• How can we manage this deluge of data being made available to us? (“cognitive curation” vs cognitive dissonance?)
    41. 41. Thanks for listening elizabeth.fitzgerald@open.ac.uk http://iet.open.ac.uk/e.j.fitzgerald http://elara99.wordpress.com http://www.tinyurl.com/edwild Acknowledgements: Gary Priestnall, Mike Sharples, Claire Taylor, Mike Craven, Rob Jones, People’s Histreh,James Goulding and students from the School of Geography at the University of Nottingham
    42. 42. Further references• Adams, Anne; FitzGerald, Elizabeth and Priestnall, Gary (2013). Of Catwalk Technologies and Boundary Creatures. ACM Transactions of Computer-Human Interaction (In Press).• Meek, Sam; FitzGerald, Elizabeth; Priestnall, Gary and Sharples, Mike (2013). Field trip learning. In: Kinuthia, Wanjira and Marshall, Stewart eds. On the Move: Mobile Learning for Development. Educational Design and Technology in the Knowledge Society. Charlotte, NC.: Information Age Publishing Inc., (In press).• FitzGerald, Elizabeth (2012). Towards a theory of augmented place. Bulletin of the Technical Committee on Learning Technology, 14(4), pp. 43–45.• FitzGerald, Elizabeth; Adams, Anne; Ferguson, Rebecca; Gaved, Mark; Mor, Yishay and Thomas, Rhodri (2012). Augmented reality and mobile learning: the state of the art. In: 11th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning (mLearn 2012), 16-18 October 2012, Helsinki, Finland .• FitzGerald, Elizabeth; Sharples, Mike; Jones, Robert and Priestnall, Gary (2011). Guidelines for the design of location-based audio for mobile learning. International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 3(4), pp. 70–85.