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At this year’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair (29 Mar – 4 Apr), I had the pleasure of experiencing the top five BolognaRagazzi Digital Award winning apps before they were announced to the public. All beautiful works developed specifically for the screen, they prove that 2014 was the year children’s apps truly broke from the boundaries imposed by the page.
The five are all beautifully rendered, technologically innovative, and intuitively engineered. They are all developmentally appropriate to their target age.
What's more, they get extra kudos for putting the power of choice and exploration at the tip of the child user’s finger. But the operative word here is “user,” not “reader.” Indeed, all the gab around these titles at the Fair used the verb “play,” not “read.”
This post is dedicated to Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Compelled by his challenge – outlined here – to find and “do something” with a set of Paul Revere’s spurs, I became inspired to craft a mini- Time Traveler Tour for the Met.
What follows is a snapshot of my brain in the midst of the digital storytelling process. I hope you enjoy this Case Study Spurred by Paul Revere.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments.
Sree’s Challenge: Locate Paul Revere’s spurs.
His Clue: The spurs can be found in the Met’s Arms and Armor exhibit.
The Hint: As I set off, I found myself chewing over a vibe I'd received from one of my Met hosts that the Arms and Armor exhibit was perhaps an odd place for a set of antique spurs. This sounded like a “pain point” to me: like the museum had these great objects, but didn’t know quite where to put them.
For a long time now, I’ve been straddling the worlds of storytelling, education, and tourism, not knowing where I really fit in. Then, while treasure hunting in New York, I discovered the cool new kids on the digital block.
They go by such names as Chief Digital Officer (CDO) and Director of Digital Experience. They even have their own online club, which reports that their numbers doubled worldwide from 500 in 2013 to 1,000 at the end of 2014. They expect to double again in 2015.
I met and talked shop with two of them, and now I understand where I belong.
Frank Migliorelli recently joined the New York Public Library as Director of Digital Experience, a new position that was a perfect fit for him. His mandate: to lead the development of digital strategy for the vast library network.
Now we’re not just talking about digitizing text content. Oh No! Under Frank’s direction, our understanding of what a library is and does is about to undergo serious and exciting change.
Last Sunday, while my friends in France gathered in the millions to support freedom of expression, I gathered my little family and we ventured into central London in support of the arts. We went to meet Master Rembrandt van Rijn at London’s National Gallery.
It was a phenomenal exhibit. The curators organized and mounted a fine show. They provided numerous user experiences, catering to most adult learning styles.
But they missed an opportunity to take the experience that one step further: to make it a shade richer and more accessible to a younger audience.
We couldn’t very well write about Assassin’s Creed without diving into the world and getting to know it ourselves. So Caitlin and I met up during my last visit to Paris to time travel together to Renaissance Rome.
We went there via Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. It was a grand outing, indeed, as you'll see from the video left!
We weren’t able to do Unity this trip because it’s not yet available for play on a Mac. Now, we know some will take issue with our playing the game on a computer. But you gotta do what you gotta do. And the tools we had available to us were a Mac and Brotherhood.
Off we went to the world of the Renaissance. But Tock the dog had some objections. She thought we were wasting our time when we could be doing something educational. She wanted to shield us from the objectification of women in video games.
So we took her with us, and even she was left speechless.
She still thinks Ubisoft left out the most obvious assassin: Charlotte Corday. And we quite agree.
But at least she’s reassured that Beware Madame La Guillotine makes a great educational complement to the latest Assassin’s Creed world: Unity.
Do I hear possible holiday gift combo?
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