Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting award-winning projects and ideas from this year's Core77 Design Awards 2012! For full details on the project, jury commenting and more information about the awards program, go to Core77DesignAwards.com
Museumvirus is a three-phase interactive game that teaches in the classroom and the museum.
With her understanding that progressing technology should influence the way we teach, Clementina Gentile developed Museumvirus. This interactive game bridges the gap between the classroom and museum. This clever game uses multiple interfaces to capture the fleeting attention of today's youth.
Museumvirus is an educational game divided in 3 phases. The first phase takes place at school. Through an online game played on the interactive white-board children identify themselves with different virus profiles. In the second phase the 4 virus groups, with the help of decoding glasses, read 4 sets of secret messages spread allover the museum exhibition. In this way they can answer a set of questions and obtain a secret code. In the third phase, back at school, with the secret code students access the last part of the online game: a interactive story with animated visuals.
How did you learn that you had been recognized by the jury?
I wrote down on my agenda the day that the winners of my category were supposed to be announced. It was a monday afternoon. And that monday was a pretty quiet one. I did not have that much to work on and I completely forgot to check my agenda. Late in the evening I remembered, so I simply went to the website to check the winning projects, taking for granted that mine was not there. When I saw the picture of Museumvirus I stared at the page for few seconds. I clicked on the link and I saw my name and only then I realized I was the winner of the student category. It was completely unexpected and I started jumping alone in the room.
What's the latest news or development with your project?
The flexible and adaptable framework of the game was actually designed to be reused for different exhibitions and contents. Unfortunately at this moment the museum did not have the chance in terms of budget and logistics to actually update the contents and re-tailor the game for a different exhibition. I could possibly propose the game to other museums or cultural institutions.
What is one quick anecdote about your project?
It was in general extremely funny to work with children and to get their feedback—they are always to the point. My attempt of being an unobtrusive observer, mingling with them, was revealed to be more successful than I would have ever thought when a 13-year-old boy asked me if I was new in the school. One pretty remarkable moment was the final user test with a classroom in a secondary school. At the end of the evaluation I asked them to please return the decoding glasses, because I had only one pair of them and I still needed them to adjust the colors of the booklets. One pair of glasses was missing and the teacher was upset, but we could not guess who was the young thief. Until one of the student expressed out loud a comment which betrayed himself. "Why are they being so cheap?" he said, referring to me and my colleague. We could not help but laugh.
What was an "a-ha" moment from this project?
I got really inspired by research from MIT: "Hanging out, Messing around and Geeking out. Kids living and learning with new media." The research showed in an incredibly vivid and analytical way the differences and gaps between standard education and new informal learning practice children are mostly acquainted with in the context of the new media ecologies. After reading this publication and after the actual observations in the school and in the museum context it came natural as an epiphany the idea of bridging this gap, bringing elements and features of this informal ways of learning into the traditional school context. It was still fuzzy on how I would get there, but what was clear to me was the need of a service which could merge school and museum almost into a unique cultural institution capable to offer an playful learning experience over space and time. After some more days of research and work and brainstorming sessions, Museumvirus was born.