|The Kurio project was conducted from April 2007 to September 2008 and was funded by a grant from Canadian Heritage’s New Media Research and Development and Initiative program. The project involved researchers and stakeholders from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, including interaction design, computer science, industrial design and museum studies. Kurio explored how to address issues of social engagement, play and learning for family groups in museums. We see focusing on families as an important aspect in our study, as they are by far the most common visitor type to science, history, and natural history museums. Museums themselves are story spaces where visitors create and share their understandings through engaging with the designed environment.
The researchers involved in the Kurio project have explored, in their respective ways, how museums can enrich the story making aspect, and in turn, help further visitor participation in this process. For example, past work includes exploring how technology can be incorporated into the museum ecology through employing mobile computing or tangible user interfaces. These types of mobile, personal information and communication technologies are the latest in a series of technologies being explored by museums, all of which offer a paradigmatic shift in conceiving the museum visit. Equally, they pose significant challenges in how they are integrated into the existing story spaces of museums.
We have further explored these issues in developing our museum guide system, Kurio, which supports families and small groups. The interactive museum guide itself is comprised of a tangible user interface that is distributed over several different custom components, a tabletop display, and a PDA (personal digital assistant) that the family group uses to explore the museum by playing an interactive game. Through designing the system we have developed an adaptive user model for groups that facilitates different learning styles and levels that has been guided by constructivist learning principles. Additionally, we have formulated a model of interaction based on an ecological understanding of the museum experience that is socially driven, and that address the diverse learning possibilities made possible by responsive, adaptive tangible user interface and mobile devices.
Please explore the following areas in to learn more about the Kurio system: