Schoolchildren Producing Mobile Visitor Experiences

On April 10th 2014, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) faculty and students, with a history specialist from Genesee Country Village & Museum (GCVM) met at Allendale Columbia School (ACS) to teach augmented reality production skills to schoolchildren. The goal of this workshop was to have schoolchildren produce their Heritage Stories they wrote from the previous workshop “Schoolchildren Design Mobile Visitor Experiences“.

Schoolchildren were directed by RIT students from the School of Photography Arts and Sciences (SPAS). Film directors and photographers from SPAS recorded each schoolchild in front of a green screen so they could act out their individual role in each Heritage Story. For example, a child dressed as a blacksmith or a school teacher.  GCVM provided 19th century clothing, so the schoolchildren would be contextually and aesthetically appropriate when we geo-locate their videos in our next workshop. RIT Interaction Design students and Allendale Columbia School faculty prepped and couched the schoolchildren before and during each augmented reality video shoot. This workshop gave schoolchildren hands on experiences in the augmented realty production process.

In our next workshop, RIT and ACS students will process and geo-locate each individual video to curate physical locations with their Heritage Stories.

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New Project Announcement – Schoolchildren Designing Mobile Visitor Experiences at Heritage Destinations

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Schoolchildren Designing Mobile Visitor Experiences at Heritage Destinations is a collaborative mobile user experience design project between Allendale Columbia SchoolGenesee Country Village & Museum and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). The goal of this project is to give schoolchildren the oppertunity to be designers of mobile technologies instead of consumers of mobile technologies.

RIT students and faculty from the Human Computer Interaction Program and Collage of Imaging, Arts and Sciences Department are  teaching basic Interaction Design and multimedia asset production principles to fifth and eighth grade students. Allendale Columbia School is leading learning objectives and outcomes, while Genesee Country Village and Museum provides ninetieth century curation education. The format of the project is in four distinct collaborative workshop stages:

  1. Collaboration – Ideation Phase, Heritage Storytelling, Design Strategy
  2. Design – User Center Design, Geo/Location-Based Interaction Design
  3. Multimedia Production – Asset Creation, Video, Audio, Photo, Scripting/Creative Writing
  4. Evaluation – Mobile Usability Testing, Public Schoolchildren Feedback

The mobile user experiences designed by the schoolchildren of Allendale Columbia School, will be evaluated by other schoolchildren participating in annual field trip events to Genesee Country Village and Museum in late spring 2014.

This project leverages the mobile technologies designed and developed under a 2013 New York Council on the Arts Grant, Mobile Experiences for Tourism Project.

Schoolchildren Investigating Mobile User Experiences

On Thursday, November 21, 2013, MS HCI faculty and students from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) ran a collaborative workshop with 5th and 8th grade school students at Allendale Columbia School (ACS) in Pittsford, NY. The goal of our workshops are to create opportunities for school children to experience the interaction design process of cutting edge mobile technologies and services in the tourism and heritage domain. Rather than children being the consumers of mobile technologies, children will have the opportunity to design mobile experiences for heritage storytelling at tourism destinations in the greater Rochester area. We are using technologies funded under the New York State Council on the Art, Mobile Experiences for Tourism Project 2013. We are designing our mobile experiences around the heritage destination of Genesee Country Village & Museum.

Schoolchildren Investigating Mobile User Experiences is the initial collaborative phase between RIT and ACS. This phase consists of  investigation workshops  aimed at providing experiential learning opportunities geared for children as our user-group. Our first investigation workshop included 50 children divided up into two sessions, 1-heritage storytelling and 2-digital souvenirs workshops. School students were asked in the first workshop to investigate how two places at a heritage destination could be related through narratives. The school students were given post-its and told to document all possible characters, settings, themes, plots and scenarios on a post-it. Then the school students were assigned to place any narrative configurations (of post-its) on the front board for an audience of their peers to critique. This allowed the ACS students creative freedom to develop stories they would like to see at GCVM, and permitted the researchers to educate the school students about creating  heritage stories. A heritage story is a cinematic method to deliver digital content through digital agents, while creating continuity from point-of-interest to point-of-interest at a historical site. 

Heritage stories included a mystery story, a heroic story, and a horror story within the nineteenth century living history museum. For example, “The Mystery Story” involves a case of wrongful indictment. The town homeless character is falsely accused of theft. The real culprit is a wealthy land owner. GCVM visitors attempt to prove innocence while learning the moral lesson of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” Souvenirs from this narration include mockups of the stolen goods. 

During Spring of 2014, we will be iterating and creating multimedia assets into our system at RIT. School students will have first hand experience designing for location-based mobile technologies to deliver a narrative such as “The Mystery Story“. Our workshop collaborations will work into three phases: Schoolchildren (1-Investigating), (2-Designing), and (3-Evaluating) Mobile User Experiences at heritage locations in the greater Rochester area.

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Summary of Blended Interactions Workshop 10.3.13

About:
On October 3rd, the Blended Interactions Studio at RIT conducted its first interaction design workshop. The topic of the workshop was mobile user experience design for digital tourism services. Over 50 designers, practitioners and researchers arrived for presentations, focus groups and pizza while learning, using and participating in interaction design principles derived from Blended Theory.

Presentations:
Professor David Benyon from Edinburgh Napier University presented foundational topics in blended theory to inform the Interaction Design process for mix reality experiences. Senior Research Fellow Oli Mival, also from Edinburgh Napier University, showcased his project prototype called the “Jupiter Art Land Project”. Their mobile strategy used geo trigger events to deliver contextually relevant information to the visitor, while seeking to deliver art works from present and past installations. UX Director Brian O’Keefe, from the Blended Interactions Studio, showcased the latest prototype from the Mobile Experiences for Tourism Project funded by New York Council on the Arts. The demo showcased how geo-fences, photography and digital way finding supplemented educational content to historical locations.  Stephen Mokey presented his successfully defended MS HCI thesis. His research evaluated audio methodologies to the touring visitors at Genesee Country Village Museum. Also, three other RIT MS HCI candidates presented their in-progress capstone proposals in blended spaces and interactions design.

Workshop:
Professors David Benyon and Brian O’Keefe led the workshop, working with five student groups to practice blended theory using the new I Love New York, Haunted History Trail (HHT) as our domain and domain. Key stakeholders from Genesee Chamber of Commerce Tourism Professional Association were invited to give further context and insight of this project from a local and state level. The project wrapped up with five student groups presenting their interaction ideations around embedding technology into haunted history locations in New York State.

Press Release: RIT enhances the tourism experience with mobile innovations

Faculty and students at Rochester Institute of Technology are using mobile technologies to engage visitors of historical destinations in the Greater Rochester area. The mobile design strategy, called Brick City Tours, personalizes the tourism experience using digital storytelling, cultural heritage and interactive arts, such as augmented reality.

New ReleaseRIT is collaborating with VisitRochester, Greater Rochester’s official tourism promotion agency, to design mobile experiences that personalize and capture tourists’ visits at the Genesee Country Village and Museum. The technology is also designed to scale to many of VisitRochester’s other top destinations. The Mobile Experiences for Tourism Project is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Funding for the project comes from a $52,958 award from the 2012 Regional Economic Development Council Awards and a matching $52,958 contribution from RIT and VisitRochester.

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Presented at the Blended Interactions Workshop at CHI 2013, Paris, France

Researchers from Rochester Institute of Technology and Edinburgh Napier University collaborate to create “A Blended Space for Tourism at the Genesee Country Village & Museum”. Brian O’Keefe from RIT presented at the Blend13 CHI 2013 Workshop in Paris, France. The workshop brought international researchers together to envision the impact of Blended Theory could have on the future of collaborative environments.

Presentation: A Blended Space for Tourism: Genesee Country Village & Museum
Brian Presenting “A Blended Space for Tourism: Genesee Country Village & Museum”

Our presentation discussed the concept of a blended space and used it to explore the design of a visitor experience in a nineteenth century living history village and museum in western New York. Blended spaces aim to produce a more harmonized user experience (UX) of a place, by considering the correspondences between physical and digital spaces and by considering the movement through these spaces. Our research paper was ranked amongst the top papers in the workshop.

Brian introducing Digital Agents at Genesee Country Village and Museum

Brian introducing Digital Agents at Genesee Country Village and Museum

RIT students and faculty present MET research at CHI 2013 Paris, France

Our students were glowing with excitement to present our work-in-progress poster at CHI 2013 Paris. Mobile Experiences for Tourism (MET): Brick City Tours (BCT),  is a series of mobile services aimed at prospective university students who are visiting the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) campus.

Our students were able to meet the most innovative researchers in the HCI Community. Our hihglight was when Jakob Nielsen took his time to stop at our poster and have a long conversation with our students, while learning about Mobile Experiences for Tourism at RIT.

Students present research at CHI 2013 Paris

Students present research at CHI 2013 Paris

Our ongoing research and development is looking at improving key visitor problem areas while on an RIT tour. Our goal is to leverage user-centered design methods to develop a mobile service to strengthen the connection and facilitate visitors to make an informed decision when choosing which school to attend. Our ACM paper discusses the project’s design rationale, process, and outcomes, while introducing the evaluation iterations for a mobile service aimed at prospective students so they can experience the innovations of RIT students and faculty.