Myles Felch, the assistant curator at the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum shared how excited he is that The Station could take a visitor's experience "beyond the museum" whether that was just more information beyond the signage in their outdoor rock garden or extending learning for students on field trips.
STEMports is an augmented reality game for community-based STEM learning and workforce development. STEMports engages youth and families in missions (ports) to enhance science, technology, engineering, and math learning, and to help them discover emerging STEM careers in their communities.
Rural communities have a great deal of STEM embedded in the community’s identity, but that identity often goes unnoticed or under-appreciated. STEMports will challenge the mentality that a STEM education and career are only available to upper income youth and adults in urban areas. The reality is that STEM identities of rural communities are truly embedded in the culture of the community. STEMports is aimed at honoring, amplifying, and redefining the STEM identities of rural communities so that the community’s youth and adults can see that a STEM workforce can emerge and grow locally.
To this end, STEMports developed the Station, an augmented-reality app (for iOS) that connects users to users with educational quests. By replacing pamphlets and signs with interactive place-based quest experiences you can get users learning outside all while telling an organization’s stories in a fun and unique new way. Great for engaging families, school groups, visitors and more! The Station allows parters to create “Quests,” or STEM-based learning experiences, tied to real-life environments within a community using location based augmented reality.
The Station finally had it's public event debut! In October, we participated in Great Maine Apple Day at MOFGA. We co-designed a quest with Laura Sieger, the MOFGA Orchard Manager, to help visitors identify different apple varieties that can be found on the campus. Our players that day ranged in age from preschoolers to senior citizens and we enjoyed watching families run through the orchard as they collected treasure chests and visited tour stops to learn more. We were able to collect data from participants and one set of participants from the Hidden Valley Nature Center asked to become a partner and build quests for their space.
This project is funded by the National Science Foundation, grant #1831427. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in these materials are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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