Fort Vancouver Mobile - A video overview

Courtesy of: Research Assistant Aaron May of Washington State University Vancouver's Creative Media and Digital Culture program. Produced in 2011.

Video highlights from the apps (36-minute version)

This montage provides a sampling of some of the video media in the Fort Vancouver Mobile apps. This app is much more than just a video distribution system, but these videos show the variety of content, from expositional segments to new journalism to those intended to prompt the development of interactive narratives.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Digital Storytelling class from WSU Vancouver on site, beta testing the app

Another WSU Vancouver class came to Fort Vancouver recently to beta test the FVM app. DTC 354 Digital Storytelling, co-taught by Dr. Dene Grigar and Greg Shine (chief ranger at Fort Vancouver), has been focusing its work on making mobile media for the FVM app, related to women's issues and gender.
This is the second DTC 354 class to have such a focus. The first, which I taught in the fall of 2010, worked in two teams to generate production plans for independent modules. One of those, Kane's Wanderings, is nearly complete and will be included in the app launched to the public in June. The second, about the story of the Old Apple Tree, also is under production. Our hope is that the DTC 354 class this time generates more potential modules and ideas for this kind of work. The students are using Jason Farman's fantastic new scholarly book, "Mobile Interface Theory," as a foundational text.

Here is a photograph of the group with the book and the app (all images courtesy of Cassie Anderson, National Park Service):

And a couple of individual images of the students on site, using the beta version of the app:

Guest appearance at the National Park Service's second Digital Media Webinar

Greg Shine, Chief Ranger at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, talked at length in August about the Fort Vancouver Mobile project as part of the National Park Service's first Digital Media Webinar, which I joined asynchronously through blog posts here and synchronously through Twitter. This time around, in late January, the National Park Service was kind enough to invite me to participate directly via a webcam presentation, asking me to talk about the project and on the subject of mobile media. Another 60 or so employees from throughout national parks in the U.S. & territories (such as Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam) joined the Webinar, looked at clips of the project and talked about its potential as a model for mobile media interpretation at historic sites throughout the agency's system.
Some of the comments from the chat stream included:
* "I like that the ranger is learning along with the visitor!"
* "It really gives the visitor the idea of being there as the archeological discovery is made."
* "I like that the visitor is part of the discovery"
* "good catchy intro to get you to want to watch more"
* "it's great how much is conveyed without narration"
* "Without the use of much audio there is still a lot of emotion, the quality of video makes a big difference too. This is not homemade-Waynes world made"
* "Great way to interpret"
* "great for kids"
* "the students would not only be empowered to put their own expression into it, but they would also make their own connections to the resource"
* "save trees"
* "people are asking way more for app creation!"
* "Inspiring brett"
* And, best of all: "Wow!"
Thanks again, NPS, for asking me to participate. I really enjoyed the experience.

NEH Lightning Round presentation by Dr. Grigar

As part of the NEH grant funding, Dr. Dene Grigar went to Washington, D.C., to present information about the Fort Vancouver Mobile project to other grant recipients and NEH staff. Here is a video of that presentation:

Excellent work, Dene! ...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

More redesign slides for consideration

Lead multimedia designer Marsha Matta has submitted a variety of slides for consideration in the upcoming FVM app redesign.

We are starting to dig down into the overall flow of the app, from launcher icon to common transition screens. What do you think of these?

Using the gate as the opening metaphor:

A screen to explain a particular aspect of the situation ...

A general context screen ...

Picking a module ...

Triggering a GPS hotspot ...

Kanaka intro screen ...

Kanaka prompt screen ...

Kanaka keyboard input screen ...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The National Park Service messenger bags have arrived, more gear on the way!

Fort Vancouver's Chief Ranger Greg Shine just let me know that the 25 waterproof messenger bags the National Park Service donated to this project (valued at about $700) have arrived and are en route now to WSU Vancouver. Those will provide a portable and durable way for a full studio class (of 24 students and an instructor) to work together on mobile media production at Fort Vancouver at one time, while keeping the equipment organized and safe. Greg also let me know that the federal agency will be lending us several other pieces of media production equipment to be used during the next few months, as part of the continued development of the interpretive content within the app and the growing partnership between WSU Vancouver and Fort Vancouver. What fabulous news! Thanks again, Greg!

Please welcome Sola Adesope to the FVM team

At our core, we are studying with this Fort Vancouver Mobile project the ways in which people learn best through mobile technology. So I have been searching for a while to find a pedagogical researcher with a strong interest, expertise and background in new media technologies to join our team. Turns out, this ideal person was closer
than I imagined, after a conversation today with Dr. Olusola Adesope of Washington State University in Pullman.
Sola, as he likes to be called, studied computer science as an undergraduate and through his graduate studies has migrated to the "intersection of educational psychology, learning sciences, instructional design and technology." We still are working out many of the details of his participation in the project, but at this point, he and I are eager to get our research agendas overlapping in important places and to see what comes of that synergy. ... Welcome, once again, Sola!

Initial opening screen designs

Lead designer Marsha Matta is continuing to work hard on the redesign of the Fort Vancouver Mobile app, in preparation for the app's public launch on June 9. Note here that we are transitioning from a fixed horizontal design, to a mixed-orientation design, in which the mobile device primarily will be held in a vertical orientation but that users also will have the opportunity to turn the device horizontal for some activities, such as watching videos.
Marsha wrote today to say she also is considering a new variation of this design, using the stockade gate as the primary symbol, instead of the bastion, but those designs will need to be posted later. Right now, what we have is three variations of the opening screen (the one users reach when they press the launcher icon on their home screens). ... Look carefully at the button/menu placement, appearance, icons, etc., as we also transition into a carousel effect, suggested by John Tobiason of the National Park Service. With this approach, users will be able to enter a module selection arena and swipe the screens, to carousel through interactive narrative options.
By the way, lead web developer Joe Oppegaard, also has been working very hard to make this new design possible. He simultaneously has been building the coding framework for such an approach, incorporating Sencha Touch, and we are getting close to publishing a prototype code design to house this new work by Matta.
But for now, let's focus on the designs below. What do you like? Not like? Suggestions for improvements? Please post below.

Opening screen 1

Opening screen 2

Opening screen 3

Kanaka 1

Kanaka 2

Kane 1

Monday, February 13, 2012

More button designs

Lead multimedia designer Marsha Matta has submitted another round of designs for the primary app button, as we continue the FVM app redesign, in preparation for the public launch in June.

Marsha noted that by including the black bar and National Park Service logo, the design inherently gravitates toward a boxed shape, yet a more dynamic button could be created without the frame. Any suggestions for getting around this issue? Any comments on a design preference? Please post below.

Dene Grigar sent back the suggestion of stylizing the fort even more, with less detail and more visual punch. ... Here are the rough images Marsha made in response:

Response to those?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thanks again to the National Park Service (and The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication)!

The National Park Service once again has shown its support for the Fort Vancouver Mobile project; this time by donating 25 messenger bags to be used for the media production kits we are creating at WSU Vancouver for students in The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. These kits will include cameras, monopods, microphones, etc., for the use of creating digital media in situ at places such as the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

We constantly will be refining the kits to adjust to the technology of the day, but regardless of what's in the bags, we still needed the bags, and Greg Shine, chief ranger at Fort Vancouver, stepped up to help us. Our first addition to the bags will be Canon PowerShot Elph cameras, and other related accessories, donated by supporters of The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication in Pullman. So thank you again to the Murrow College as well!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Busy day of beta testing at Fort Vancouver

On Thursday, Feb. 2, 24 students from WSU Vancouver's Digital Storytelling class (DTC 354) visited Fort Vancouver with their instructors for the course (Dr. Dene Grigar and Fort Vancouver Chief Ranger Greg Shine). These students will be creating mobile digital content for the app as part of the class, building upon the Women Issues and Gender module. We are very excited to see what they come up with!

Here are a few photos of the group (courtesy of Cassie Anderson, Park Ranger & Historic Programs Coordinator, of the National Park Service site):

Afterward, documentary filmmaker Beth Harrington also tried the app, and we hope to be able to work together with her, too, in the future to explore the potential of mobile apps, and place-based media, with the embedding of nonfiction filmmaking into physical landscapes.