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.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Wing Luke Museum's Grit exhibit opens today

The Wing Luke Museum opened its exhibit titled "Grit" today, featuring a video on William Kaulehelehe that was commissioned as part of the Fort Vancouver Mobile project.

Courtesy of @FtVancouverNPS
The museum, the only U.S. institution that focuses on the Asian Pacific American experience, is located in Seattle's Chinatown-International District and affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution.

Here is more about the exhibit, on display through Oct. 29, 2014:

"Grit: Asian Pacific Pioneers Across the Northwest uncovers the true stories of the men and women who migrated to the Pacific Northwest from the Asia Pacific to start a new life. The exhibition highlights 16 sites spanning Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, and British Columbia. The Pacific Northwest of the 19th and early 20th centuries could be an unforgiving place, from natural and man-made disasters to discrimination seen in policy and everyday life. Grit reminds us of Asian Pacific Americans' long history of fortitude and resilience as they established communities in the Pacific Northwest."

And a photo of the credits:

Courtesy of @FtVancouverNPS

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Grand Emporium of the West tablet app nearing release

We are less than a month away from the release of our latest NEH-funded mobile app; this one titled "The Grand Emporium of the West."

This app is designed for tablet computers, and it is designed for use in middle school history classes nationwide.

It continues the story of Fort Vancouver, but instead of being locative in nature, it is designed as a place-less prompting tool for classroom activities and discussions about the 19th-century frontier, wherever you are in the United States.

We have an introduction to the app, that sets the scene and provides some context about Fort Vancouver (but also can be skipped). Here are a few screenshots of that segment:

So the image you see there is a colorized version (by our multimedia designer Marsha Matta) of a historic sketch, and then we took the color away from anything that wasn't touchable, to create the main app interface:

Each colorized section, when touched, opens a prompting box, and within each box is a section of contextual information, a multimedia object (usually a video), and two suggested activities, plus two suggested discussion prompts. Those pages look like this:

And so forth ... When you touch one of the brown bars, or discussion bubbles, an interior box appears that provides a specific prompt (with a guide box also available for teachers looking to align with history thinking standards). That interior box looks like this:

Inside each interior box is a chance to collaborate, through Google Docs, as a way to share files, ideas, etc. ...

This app will be free and available for both Apple and Android devices; any history teachers out there want to give it a try, please let me know.

New research methodologies in development

While we are building these various mobile apps for place-based attractions, we also are -- of equal importance -- experimenting with different research methodologies enabled by mobile technologies.

This past weekend, for example, our enthusiastic little research team (including Dr. Michael Rabby and research assistants Lucas Wiseman and Joshua Wagner) spent three full days at Vancouver's Festival of Trees testing, among other ideas, how each different mobile medium (audio, video, animation) as well as proximity (to the physical material being presented) affects user perceptions about mobile content.

We had some slow moments, particularly early in the mornings, but, by mid-day and in the early afternoons, we often had three or four tablets running simultaneous tests. At one point, on the first day, we had six tablets running tests for about 30 minutes straight. ... That was very exciting to see.

As part of all of this, we also attracted one famous guest, who wanted to give it a whirl: