Pervasive Play at the San Francisco Presidio

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As I mentioned in my SAA paper back in 2007, ubiquitous computing has great potential for interpretation and outreach in archaeology.  I’m very inspired by Jane McGonigal’s PhD on ubiquitous computing and pervasive play and have decided to test the viability of the format for education.  It’s always hard to make educational games fun, but when they work, it’s incredible!  Does anyone else fondly remember Oregon Trail?

So, I’ve attached my brief web description for the project.  I’d love to get feedback, if you have any to offer!

Pervasive Gaming, Education, and Cultural Heritage: Emplaced Interpretive Games at the Presidio of San Francisco

In a large, urban, technologically advanced metropolis like the Bay Area, how do people recognize and understand the cultural heritage they encounter in their everyday lives? This working group explores the connections between tourism, education, archaeology and technology in the interpretation of place.  With the ultimate goal of developing a pervasive game—a location-aware, augmented-reality public experience—set in the Presidio of San Francisco with its over 300 years of history, archaeologists, new media specialists, and other academics and heritage professionals will come together to bridge the present to the past.  Using social media platforms and ubiquitous computing, we will work to bring history away from the desktop, out of books, and into the world, adding layers of meaning to the landscape. This project encourages an active engagement in the curation and the creation of local history, and a case study for embedded interpretation of place. Working toward giving the Bay Area community a glimpse into the region’s history, this group will foster a local presence for academic and public cooperation, but will also provide access to the project through Flickr, Facebook, and a number of other social networking technologies to serve as a model for experimentation and implementation at other cultural heritage sites.  With the successful implementation of an educational game at the Presidio, we move toward being able to embed archaeological and historical interpretation in the landscape, enhancing the modern day experience of place.