Mobile review: Owney AR app and Agents of Change Game


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  • Owney’s getting a stamp in July! Hurry and make it special!
  • Larger team worked together to create other Owney projectsSub-set of that team involved in AR
  • Wasn't publicly available upon stamp issue Teacher focus group:In developing the curriculum, I demoed the AR for a group of teachers who were providing ideas on how to use Owney in the classroom. Cool is what they said when they saw it, but no one, even when I pressed, could think of a good way to use it in the classroom beyond an ice-breaker sort of introduction to OwneyOwney’s social media fans thought they didn’t have the tech to do it. His core followers didn’t find it relevant to their interests—and we don’t think it really brought in a lot of new people, according to “why did you decide to follow Owney on social media?” question responses.
  • 5. Lessons learned: a. Identify the target audience. Build goals and communication plans around it. Stamp collectors and people who stumble upon the stamp at USPS had to take their own initiative to discover the AR component to the stamp because there was no info packaged with the stamp itself—the technology didn’t magically build its own audience. Young people enjoyed the AR the most but it wasn’t really usable in classrooms, school tours, or public programs—it’s a cool little “trick” but doesn’t advance educational goals enough to merit inclusion when time is valuable. People who enjoy AR technology (typically folks “in the business”) liked the technological aspect and may have become aware of Owney through this project but didn’t really advance to explore Owney history or move beyond this one element. b. If sparkly technology is an “entry point” to deeper learning, think about where and how people will actually enter. The AR wasn’t referred to anywhere in the physical museum. That stamp isn’t part of the exhibit and there weren’t postcards or bookmarks promoting the AR. The app and website were mostly used by people who already knew about Owney via some other entry point (typically social media). They may have enjoyed the AR but they weren’t getting their first taste of Owney’s history—they were already insiders and the AR didn’t offer them a new place to go or new learning outcomes. It’s probable that very few people found the app or AR website and were introduced to Owney in this way—we have much stronger entry points. c. Was Owney’s AR interactive just for the fun of being interactive? A brief intro video about Owney probably would have accomplished educators’ goals better than the AR—but a video is very passive. The AR did have the advantage of being manipulable, but did it really add anything to the experience? If kids could have “petted” Owney to trigger him telling them his story, that might have been really rich. But turning him upside-down or making him jump didn’t necessarily increase learning, though it did increase interaction time. {not only interaction time, I think you can safely say it increased engagement with those kids at the opening.} d. Choose the “trigger” carefully. Decision to make stamp the trigger meant you had to have one or print one but it also meant it seemed to be promoting stamp sales—and USPS never really promoted the AR element or its connection to NPM. Wonder how it would have been different if a historic photo of Owney had been the trigger. {this is a larger issue of being one active side of a partnership. USPS couldn't promote anything because the timing was so tight and they have a much bigger infrastructure and larger customer base than NPM/SI. We thought we had given ourselves enough time to work with them, but the technology was slower to develop and we didn't meet milestones when we needed to for their involvement. This is the big reason for their non-involvement in the promotion end of things.} e. Think about the strengths of the technology (in this case, adding a new layer to physical reality) and try to fit it to the project goals. Augmented reality is partially about making reality better. It was cool to hold Owney in the palm of your hand but it didn’t really enhance the environment you were in. AR apps that include GPS can tell you where highly rated restaurants are located if you hold it up to the street—this is a situation in which it makes a lot of sense to overlay this computer-generated layer over your physical surroundings. Maybe other types of technology could have “brought Owney to life” or introduced people to Owney’s story—the element of enhancing the person’s environment wasn’t highly essential. In the end, educators may have been happier with a simple, well-animated video in which Owney briefly tells the story of his life to answer the question, “Who is Owney the dog?” This would be an entry point that would spark interest and move viewers beyond sparkle/technology to actually learn a little about Owney. (However, this would be less interactive.) f. In contrast to the e-book project? {In another mobile project, we did develop an animated version of Owney's story. It was another first-time development project for NPM and again, originated from OCIO's suggestions and involvement. This project faced many similar limitations: access to give feedback during development, reliance on communication between external folks. What it had, though, is a looser time-frame with no hard-fast launch date (still yet to be launched) and an opportunity to meet with developers to convey critical content and education goals. In establishing those at the start, we were able to push-back in ways they had altered from our original stated goals. In this case, the technology was still suggested to us, but we were able to create a product that met an existing need for the education department and the audiences it serves.
  • Methods: observation and interviews
  • Mobile review: Owney AR app and Agents of Change Game

    1. 1. Owney the Dog’s Augmented Reality Project By Erin Blasco and Allison Wickens, Smithsonian National Postal Museum
    2. 2. Augmented Reality• An enhanced/augmented way to view the world around you through computer- generated sensory input (video, graphics, GPS data)• A layer over reality that adds more info or something cool• Triggered by a marker
    3. 3. Owney’s AR• Bring his stamp “to life”• See and hear Owney run, bark, and sit• Accessible via the web or iPhone
    4. 4. Group Makeup• Opportunity came via OCIO and 3D imaging• The director’s interest sparked the project• One of the director’s goals was to impress a partner and increase promotion
    5. 5. Motivated by Opportunity, Not a Goal• Create something unique that would spark interest in Owney• Use AR as an entry point to deeper understanding of his story• For most components of the Owney project, early elementary kids were the target
    6. 6. How Were Educators Involved?• Two outside groups worked together, OCIO and AR contractors, on a tight timeline. NPM sometimes out of the loop.• Educators wanted more “meat,” a clearer relationship between the AR and greater project, better audience entry points• Sound effects included to hint at Owney’s story• Would a voiceover or historical context make it too boring?
    7. 7. How Has it Worked?• Owney’s social media fans – or @OwneytheDog• Teacher focus group• OP&A observation: – Younger kids enjoyed it most; mesmerized – Kids enjoyed turning him upside down, “petting” him, manipulating the AR – Younger folks more tenacious in getting it to work – Difficult to gauge if it sparked curiosity – Older folks gave up quickly
    8. 8. Lessons Learned• Identify the target audience and goal (duh)• If sparkly technology is an “entry point” to deeper learning, think about where and how people will actually enter.• How important was interactability?• Choose the “trigger” carefully• Contrast to the e-book project• Challenges of contracting at SI
    9. 9. But What if…• … we HAD thought of the goal and target audience first?• Would we have stumbled upon AR as the best tool?• If so, how would we
    10. 10. Agents of Changemobile app game Coordinated by Erin Blasco, NMAH Camy Clough, NMAH
    11. 11. The 101• Game developed by Green Door Labs• Free, non-commercial, not owned by SI• Girl Scouts Rock the Mall = a test audience• Target : middle school aged Girl Scouts• Played all over DC sites• Three parts: sign up and discuss at home computer; play on iPhone or camera while in DC; return to home computer to vote
    12. 12. Outcomes• Through participating in game play, Girl Scouts increase their level of engagement in looking at, discussing, and exploring museum objects, exhibits, and ideas. The game gives Girl Scouts a mission to complete or filter through which to view their museum visit and structure museum exploration: – In the short term, this increases their linger time at objects, increases the level of discourse about museum objects and topics, and provides a social activity that does not detract from connecting with museum topics. – In the medium term, it prompts thinking about the value of museum objects (personally and globally) and impacts attitudes towards museum objects (not just old and dusty). – In the long term, participating in the game impacts Girl Scouts’ ability to interpret objects, identify the multiple meanings of objects, and evaluate the importance of objects.
    13. 13. Game narrative• You’re in the future. Post-apocalyptic world.• Travel to the past to collect objects to re- boot life on earth.• Photograph the objects, upload them, tag by category.• Vote for best ones to bring to the future.
    14. 14. Evaluation• Q1: Does the game provide a meaningful layer to the museum experience?• Q2: Does the game narrative (gathering objects to bring to the destroyed future to change the world) impact the museum visit?• Q3: Does taking photos end up being a meaningful activity to do in the museum?
    15. 15. Q1 and Q2: Does the game provide a meaningful layer to the museum experience?• Mild familiarity• A lot going on• Useful lens when prompted
    16. 16. Q2: Does it impact the visit?• Looked at different things in the museum “It is fun to• Increased look time take• Fun have gone straight pictures.”“I wouldfor the cars, but now I lookedfor things like the cotton gin. I “If you like [thethink it‟s interesting because objects], you canwould have gone home and take pictures tonot paid attention to remember it.”exhibition.” “The more you look at something the more you think „oh that‟s interesting.‟”
    17. 17. Q3: Does taking photos end up being a meaningful activity to do in the museum?• Natural behavior• Social behavior• Memory• Interpreting photographed objects
    18. 18. Keep• Keep: – Photo-taking – Dark hook – Playable across SI• Change: – Better connect photo taking and critical thinking – Better ending and post-visit activity