“Making Dead History Come Alive Through Mobile Game Play”

In an earlier post, I mused on the possibilities for enhancing the experience at an archaeological site by mashing-up the physical and the virtual, and in a subsquent post I presented a lesson plan for doing that in a group setting. A related post concerns the use of Mediascapes to play games at the Tower of London. Seems I’m not the only one thinking along these lines – a paper presented at the Computer/Human Interaction Conference 2007 by researchers at the University of Bari explicitly details an augmented-reality game at a Roman site in Italy (full paper):

“Abstract: This work in progress presents a design approach to digitally enhancing an existing paper-based game to support young students learning history at an archaeological site, by making use of recent advantages provided by mobile technology. It requires minimal investments and changes to the existing site exhibition because it runs on the visitors’ own cellular phones. It is expected that game-play will trigger a desire to learn more about ancient history and to make archaeological visits more effective and exciting. “

Interestingly, they propose to use memory-cards with cellphones, rather than to try and transmit and download information on the fly. Their game (‘Gais’ day in Egnathia’; Egnathia is a Roman city in Apulia) started life as a paper-based game played on the site. With the addition of the cellphones and the memory cards, the designers of the game hope to be able to collect data on the actual game-play data which will assist them in improving the learning experience.