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Wednesday, October 26 • 10:45am - 11:15am
Sustaining an Open Source Platform for Developing Mobile Learning Experiences

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An update of sustainability practices adopted by ARIS and it's growing community of mobile users. See arisgames.org


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. Yet, since ARIS is not an alternative to established software (i.e. Microsoft Word), openness ends up being more about how to organize and enable several groups of people as explorers of mobile media with ARIS.

ARIS was shared early on for open experimentation as the team continued to iterate. Regular feedback from users informed and prioritized development. Over four years, a global community has emerged. At the three-day 2011 ARIS Global Game Jam, over one hundred participants, living in four countries and eleven states, created one hundred and twenty-seven games and prototypes.

In this session members of our research group will share lessons learned through ARIS. We will discuss how (1) a usable prototyping tool is central to growing community, (2) production-driven events boost product quality and community achievement, (3) financial support is possible through a hybrid sustainability model (endowment/institutional/partnership-exchange)(Downes, 2007), and lastly, that (4) early, open sharing of a tool attracts long-term, contributing peers. Next steps will also be shared, including potential partnerships, institutional adoption, and development models, to ultimately improve understanding of mobile as a medium for learning.


Wednesday October 26, 2011 10:45am - 11:15am MDT
White Pine

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