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Sustaining an Open Source Platform for Developing Mobile Learning Experiences

Cloud created by:

Robert Farrow
26 October 2011

Christopher Blakesley  & Christopher Holden

"In 2010, over half of the world's population payed for a mobile phone subscription, and developing countries increased their share of mobile subscriptions from 53% to 73% in only five years (International Telecommunication Union, 2010). This increasing global permeation of mobile technologies suggest that fundamentally new forms of learning are within reach. An impending need exists to explore this medium's unique learning affordances, such as enabling users to remediate their experience of place (Gagnon, 2010; Mathews & Squire, 2009; Squire, 2006). 

To explore this affordance of remediation, a mobile open source experiment - ARIS - was created. This authoring tool helps non-programmers design location-based, augmented experiences for learning, playable on smartphones. Storytellers, game designers, activists, museum designers, folklorists and educators have experimented with ARIS to create activities for informal and formal learning environments.

In tandem with the open education movement (Wiley & Gurell, 2009), the ARIS online editor, phone client, and code were made freely available online for reuse, redistribution and revision (Hilton et al., 2010). Openness is provided by an MIT software license in a basic permission sense."

There will soon be more mobile phones than people!  The presenters contend that most mobile design remains uninnovative.  ARIS (Augmented Reality for Interactive Storytelling) is a game engine that is used for creating outdoor experiences on your cell phone.

The app discussed today is 'Dow Day' where the user plays the part of a journalist on an assignment which involves interviews and other investigations.  As the user visits locations they can access augmented reality content which reveals historical events. Users can create their own historical experiences using the MySQL engine on which it runs.

So far the system has been used for a range of  formal, semi-formal and informal learning scenarios. In one scenario, the user plays the part of a member of Andy Worhol's clique visiting an art gallery.  In another, users 'choose their own adventure' in a foreign language to improve their language skills.

The code is public and legally available for re-use.

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