- Play and Performance in Civic Space
- Reframing Learning and Mobile
- Play and real-world social change
Using binoculars and an iPhone application, students and birders alike can participate with WildLab Bird. Everyone contributes to the group map and database of bird sightings, which is shared with Cornell ornithologists. The mobile interface offers previews of birdsong audio, identification guides, and tools to connect with others.
This is a pilot project, with an initial run of a dozen schools participating around New York City. Future versions are being explored using SMS, Android and other platforms -- but at the moment, it is most useful as a model of what might come.
WildLab is explicitly a learning project, with implications for environmental campaigns that seek to engage urban youth. Although there are no explicit game elements, birding as a hobby is often approached as a game. Moreover, the collective data gathering can also provide a feedback loop for participation, as youth try to map new areas and species. The civic element is both tied to the Audubon Society's mission of preservation, and the "citizen science" agenda. The learning is perhaps most central: "Students learn how to identify different species of birds, log their sightings, and make observations about the habitats in which the birds live. Students map their sightings, track them over time, and compare them with those of their classmates" (for more, see the creators' YouTube video description).
Noteworthy features include:
- Event-based organizing, so that groups of users can go birdwatching together and aggregate all their sightings for that trips.
- Community twitter feed tracking all bird sightings
The iPhone application can be found here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wildlab-bird/id369960948?mt=8
Game OverviewParticipatory bird tracking by smartphone for citizen science and learning
Game DeveloperMediated Spaces and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
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