Interactive Media Young people & museums

Augmented reality and primary school learning

Interesting piece from NestaLab in the UK.

For the first project, Adrian’s team worked with BBC Jam, the new interactive learning service for 5-16 year-olds. BBC Jam’s literacy team had come up with a story, written by Rob Lewis, called Looking for the Sun, about some creatures on a beach trying to find the sun after it has disappeared behind a cloud. The team worked with animations and interaction designers to build a proof-of-concept based on the story that could be used in primary schools. The idea was that, with the use of an interactive whiteboard and a webcam, a teacher could guide a group of children interactively through the story. “It works very like a mirror,” says Adrian. “You have the webcam placed above the screen. So as you move to the left it moves with you. As you move closer things get bigger, and as you move further away things get smaller.”


.It is also a much more collaborative technology than traditional ICT. When primary school teachers work with children, they usually get them to do a lot of moving around and acting out stories, but when it comes to ICT, children end up sitting at a PC and working alone. AR enables eight or nine children to work together at a whiteboard, says Adrian: “It offers a highly stimulating way of moving beyond the keyboard and a solitary learning place.”

Digital storytelling Social networking Web 2.0

On How MySpace beat Friendster / Engaging young people & social networking

Interesting comments from Schonfeld on How MySpace Beat Friendster

But it was Tagworld CEO (and aspiring MySpace competitor) Fred Krueger who really put his finger on why MySpace succeeded and Friendtser didn’t (that’s him in the picture putting his finger on it):

“There is a tendency to over-intellectualize the problem. The reason kids left Friendster is that it did not allow strikethroughs of every word and personal pages with black backgrounds. Have you ever seen a teenager’s room? That’s what MySpace looks like. Friendster took people off because they put up pictures of their dog.”

The lesson there is that if you are trying to build a social network, you need to let the members express themselves however they like, even if you don’t like how they are doing it.

It will be interesting to look at MySpace in 2 years time. Riffing on Krueger’s point, I think that part of the reason MySpace is so attractive to teens is that is repels older people first in terms of visual design, and secondly in terms of content. I often get asked whether band x or y should set up a MySpace site and generally I tell them not to bother – especially not if they already have some other well indexed and SEO-ed web presence, and they are not trying to target the teen market. MySpace is good for storing and streaming audio – but how long will that last after GDrive, Amazon’s S3 etc really get going and limitless online storage becomes a reality? MySpace is also very good for Murdoch/Fox who now own a powerful market research tool – for a particular age group which is generally hard for traditional market research to deal with.

General Web 2.0 bookmarks

I’ve added the top 500 of our current shared bookmarks to the sidebar for ease of use.

You’ll probably need to still go and use our account to view them chronologically or navigate by tags.

But it saves on doubling up on lots of links.

Digital storytelling Interactive Media

Memory Miner – digital storytelling automation

Check out Memory Miner.

Particularly check out the video of it in action.

The first version is available for download/purchase and looks to be a pretty amazing first generation family history tool – but could have wide application within museums not just in public programmes, but also in easily generating image metadata. Its use of XML allows export to future applications and doesn’t lock the resulting product down to any future platform or delivery mechanism.

MemoryMiner is a brand new application that represents the first step towards a long term goal: the creation of the world’s most extensive network of first-person accounts of modern society and culture. Like all big ideas, it starts with a simple premise and a mass appeal for participation. MemoryMiner is an application used to organize and share digital media using a simple, yet powerful metaphor, namely “People, Places and Time.”

At its core, are a simple set of tools for treating photos (particularly rare, “pre-digital” photos) as individual frames in a type of endless story board. The story elements are linked to each other by way of annotation layers identifying the people, places, dates and events captured in each frame. As links are made, it becomes easy and tremendously interesting to explore the threads which link people’s lives across time, place and shared experience.

Over time, a set of network services will link individual MemoryMiner libraries, using the descriptive metadata to help people find these digital story elements securely and efficiently.


bono, bush, blair, the pope and condy rock out

Mother Goose Rocks! is the creation of writer/director Richard Snee, based upon his stage play “Musical Mother Goose.” Hundreds of thousands of CDs have been sold worldwide and “Wheels On the Bus,” from Mother Goose Rocks! Volume 3, even landed on the British pop music charts in 2002 and was featured on the television show “Top of the Pops.” Mother Goose Rocks! music has also been featured in the U.S. television soap opera, “Guiding Light.” (We’re not sure why, but it was still an honor).

Mother Goose Rocks! Top 20 Music Video Countdown DVD, marks the first DVD release in this series. The music video cartoons are based on the award-winning Mother Goose Rocks! internet animations that have been enjoyed by young children, their parents, siblings and caregivers for over 4 years.

Thanks Michi for putting me onto this little beauty!

Interactive Media Young people & museums

Schaller on educational games in Museums

David Schaller’s workshop at Museums & The Web 2005 was one of the highlights of last year.

Schaller and his cohorts at Educational Web Adventures are not only educators, web developers and interactive game makers, they are also very passionate about analysing what works and what doesn’t work.

The intrinsic appeal of gameplay makes games an attractive format for educational media developers, but the particular characteristics and challenges of a game magnify the usual concerns over design, intentionality, and outcomes that all educational designers deal with. Only through careful design and thorough evaluation can we hope to overcome these challenges and realize the potential that games offer.

Here’s a recent paper of Schaller’s looking at some specific examples of games that have been developed and used online and in museums.

Web 2.0

Google Calendar


Screenshots and discussion of the soon to be released Google Calendar application – tightly integrated with Gmail, free, accepts RSS feeds, has connectors for desktop calendar software . . . . .

Finally a single centralised calendaring option. Work + home + play no longer means three seperate applications.


Weatherall on CAL and schools paying license fees for the Internet

Kim Weatherall on CAL’s outlandishing push for charging schools for directing students to use the Net rather than photocopies (which they pay CAL a license fee for).

It makes for excellent reading – here’s some excerpts – I’d encourage all to read the whole thing.

Schools use copyright material in Australia under a statutory license (Pt VB of the Act). They pay a yearly fee, usually determined on a per student or per page basis, for copying copyright material, and for communicating copyright material to ‘the public’. (Two of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner in Australia are the right to copy, and the right to communicate to the public. The statutory license allows schools to do this as much as they like, so long as equitable remuneration is paid to copyright owners. Remember, that Australia has no fair use defence). The system (at least for literary/artistic works) is administered by the Copyright Agency Limited. The Copyright Tribunal sets rates, and surveys are done to see what copying is happening. There is a current dispute between CAL and the Schools of Australia, regarding the rates appropriate for electronic copying/communication/use. In that context, CAL is saying that one things that should be included in the ‘survey’ used for sampling – to see how much is going on – is when teachers ‘Tell Students to View’ material online. The Schools say this shouldn’t be on the questionnaire. CAL apparently have several arguments as to why it should be. But the one that is generating all the heat and light right now is this one: that when students view something online, a remunerable act occurs.

But wait a minute. How can it possibly be argued that schools should pay in this situation? Schools pay for their of copying or communicating a work, for their educational purposes. If a student clicks on a link, or goes to a site, how is the school doing any copying? Or communicating to the public? CAL’s argument is that when a student clicks on a link they have been told to view, or types in the URL, that student is communicating the work to the public – because they are electronically transmitting the material to themselves, and they are the ‘copyright owner’s public’.

then . . . .

A couple of final comments are appropriate. I noted at the outset that one reason why this argument might be being made is because CAL are concerned that increasing use of the Internet in schools will cannibalise the copying previously made under the educational statutory licenses. If teachers, and lecturers provide lists of links, instead of copies of readings, CAL might have reason to be concerned that copying will, indeed, drop. I can understand such a concern. But there are two reasons why it should not be dealt with this way.

First, as I noted at the outset, remuneration is provided through the statutory licenses in recognition of the fact that copying is an exclusive right of the copyright owner, and most particularly, because copyright owners suffer some loss when copying occurs in schools and universities. This is of course particularly true for educational books. If schools could just copy educational texts, they would buy one and copy. Thus a statutory license is appropriate. The point here is that we are talking about publicly available material on the Internet. The copyright owner in those circumstances makes a choice to put stuff online. They cannot be expecting to be remunerated. If you want to be paid, put it behind a wall.

Second, concerns like cannibalisation should be dealt with openly, through debate. Not by attempting to stretch statutory provisions beyond their natural reach. If copyright owners want us to consider the creation of an exclusive right to view online, let’s have the debate. In Parliament. I think I know which way that debate would go.

One final point. The legal argument I’ve discussed here is only one aspect of CAL’s case, as I understand it. There is more, much more to the whole thing. What I’ve examined here is one legal argument – but an important, and truly radical one.

AV Related Interactive Media

Enough already! More Brokeback mashups

Here’s over 30 more Brokeback mashups. Even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and He-Man get a run!

Some appropriate commentary on the phenonmenon from If:Book.

Some spoofs work better than others. The more successful trailers establish the parallels between the loner hero archetype of film and the outsider qualities of gay life. For example, as noted by Heffernana, Brokeback Heat, with limited extra editing, transforms Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro from a detective and criminal into lovers, who wax philosophically on the intrinsic nature of their lives and their lack of desire to live another way. Or in Top Gun 2: Brokeback Squadron, Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer exist in their own hyper-masculine reality outside of the understanding of others, in particular their female romantic counterparts. In Back to the Future, the relationship of mentor and hero is reinterpreted as a cross generational romance. Lord of the Rings: Brokeback Mount Doom successfully captures the analogy between the perilous journey of the hero and the experience of the disenfranchised. Here, the quest of Sam and Frodo is inverted into the quest to find the love that dares not speak its name. The p2p/ mashup community had come to the same conclusion (to, at times, great comic effect) that the gay community arrived at long ago, that male bonding (and its Hollywood representation) has a homoerotic subtext.

Interactive Media

The power of search

Here’s a little search I did on A9 for ‘samurai armour’.

I didn’t know that it could help me with dating as well.

samurai search