Thesis

Use of mobile phones to enhance collaborative learning

As mobile devices evolve to become more sophisticated, users obtain a greater portion of their information from these devices. Museums are trying to capitalize on this trend to stay relevant and meet the needs of how mobile device users consume information. In this paper we established an architecture that enables a collaborative learning environment and utilizes museum visitor’s mobile device technology. Through collaboration with the Birch Aquarium, we implemented a game called Wind Explorer. This game extends the visitors’ experience with the Birch Aquarium’s Endless Energy Exhibit by allowing visitors to use their Android devices to control game activities on a large centralized screen. The game focused on the strategy of wind turbine placement to maximize the renewable energy of our wind resources. Players can navigate their airship on a 3D map and check weather stations
 for wind speed. Players can then choose to place wind turbines around weather stations to generate power. The 3D map, which is provided by NASA’s World Wind Project, is displayed on a central screen where players can coordinate with each other to move through the game more efficiently. Wind Explorer was designed to handle transient visitors. It supports four concurrent players at any time. Players can join the game, play for a few minutes and then move on to other exhibits. This design lets players have a collaborative environment while also having the flexibility to enjoy their museum experience at their own pace.

As mobile devices evolve to become more sophisticated, users obtain a greater portion of their information from these devices. Museums are trying to capitalize on this trend to stay relevant and meet the needs of how mobile device users consume information. In this paper we established an architecture that enables a collaborative learning environment and utilizes museum visitor’s mobile device technology. Through collaboration with the Birch Aquarium, we implemented a game called Wind Explorer. This game extends the visitors’ experience with the Birch Aquarium’s Endless Energy Exhibit by allowing visitors to use their Android devices to control game activities on a large centralized screen. The game focused on the strategy of wind turbine placement to maximize the renewable energy of our wind resources. Players can navigate their airship on a 3D map and check weather stations for wind speed. Players can then choose to place wind turbines around weather stations to generate power. The 3D map, which is provided by NASA’s World Wind Project, is displayed on a central screen where players can coordinate with each other to move through the game more efficiently. Wind Explorer was designed to handle transient visitors. It supports four concurrent players at any time. Players can join the game, play for a few minutes and then move on to other exhibits. This design lets players have a collaborative environment while also having the flexibility to enjoy their museum experience at their own pace.

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