here is a list of spaces I’ve helped make which I will write some more about over the coming weeks … hunting of the snark, ambient wood, CETL

The Hunting of the Snark

The Hunting of the Snark is an adventure game, designed to promote novel forms of playing and learning, using a diversity of ambient and pervasive technologies.

The Hunting of the Snark game involved groups of children working in pairs to hunt an elusive, virtual creature called the Snark, in a large interactive environment. The Snark never appears in its entirety but sometimes as an emotion and other times as a personality.

It also only appears for short periods of time in a variety of magical places, including water, a cave and in the air. The Snark appears depending on what actions the children perform using certain physical objects. The Snark responds to the children’s actions in a variety of tantalizing forms. Searing animations and moving sounds appear and disappear. While interacting with the Snark the children have to capture as much of the Snark’s behaviour and personality as possible using the Snarkcam.

Children then used food tokens tagged with wireless technology to ‘feed’ the Snark in a virtual pond. Animations and sound were used to depict whether the Snark liked or disliked the food it had been given.

Finally the children wore ‘flying’ jackets embedded with multiple context sensors (accelerometers) that gather data on where the wearer is and what they are doing and to monitor their arm movements. The children could see their arm movements on a large display.

Together their actions affected whether the Snark was happy, sad or bored. Again animations and sound were used to depict the feelings of the Snark.Children also used music tokens to activate a ‘cave’, where we used pressure sensitive pad technology was placed underneath a floormat. On moving around inside the cave, various noises were created. Children had to discover which kinds of sounds the Snark liked. Again animations and sound were used to convey the emotions of the Snark.

The Ambient Wood

The Ambient Wood is an outdoor playful learning experience. Pervasive technologies are used to digitally augment a woodland in a contextually relevant way, enhancing the ‘usual’ physical experience available to children exploring the outdoor world. Studies show this to be a highly engaging novel experience for learners, that effectively supports collaborative learning, as well as providing preliminary guidelines for designing different ways of delivering digital information for learning.

The experience was divided into three stages: exploration in the woodland; reflection and hypothesising in the den (a purpose built area for informal discussion); and experimentation back in the woodland. Children had a variety of devices with which to explore and experiment in the wood. These were used to trigger and present the ‘added’ digital information, sometimes caused by the children’s automatic exploratory movements, and at other times determined by their intentional actions.