Based on a technology developed by Mark Berres (UW Madison) that is able to accurately determine the species of a recorded bird call, we are prototyping a locative data collection game.

Veteran Birders as well as curious children will be able to submit geo-tagged bird sighting data to a database for scientific use, while engaging in the casual practice of birding.

Plant Key

Developed from Catherine Woodward’s (UW Madison) binary WI plant species key, we are building an iPhone app based on ARIS to capture plant identifications for a distributed, peer reviewed geo-locative game.

Our Minnesota Exhibit @ Minnesota Historical Society

We are currently consulting with the genius exhibit designers behind the Tornado Room and C-47 troop transport aircraft to create an entirely new kind of hybrid designed experience.

Teaching With Primary Sources – Library of Congress

Working out of Lucianne Brown’s (Governor’s State University) passion for primary sources and place based learning, the ARIS team is consulting on how the two might be combined in creating k-12 learning activities.

Design Studios @ Smithsonian and Field Museum

The Pearson Foundation via the New Learning Institute is exploring new ways for youth to learn though doing design activities. We are testing and refining place based learning workshops that will be used at these institutions that allow visitors to become the storytellers and curators by creating mobile learning experiences themselves.

Local Games in Albuquerque class – UNM

Chris Holden taught this course in the University Honors Program at UNM, using place-based, mobile game design as a lens through which to study the city.


Launched in July 2009, is the first mobile, place-based, augmented reality game explicitly oriented towards the development of language skills in Spanish. It is set in a Spanish-speaking neighborhood in Albuquerque, NM and plays out much like a historical novel in which fact and fiction combine to set the context and social conditions for meaningful interaction (in Spanish) with simulated characters, other players, and local citizens.

UNM Self Guided Tour

Julie Do and Kaylyn Peters

The UNM Self-Guided Tour is for prospective students and their parents. Learn about the entire UNM campus or just a part, the tour accommodates your personal preferences. The usefulness of a traditional tour plus a unique and fun view of the university not highlighted in traditional tours.


ARIS: An open source platform for developing mobile learning experiences

David J. Gagnon


Inspired by mobile, Internet enabled computing and the maturing field of educational game design, the ARIS project has designed an open source tool for rapidly producing locative, interactive, narrative-centric, educational experiences. In addition to the software, the project contributes a global community of active designers and a growing set of compelling mechanics for learners in such designs.

Mobile Learning Environments

David J. Gagnon

Key Take Aways:

  • With one billion devices expected to have mobile broadband Internet connections, the impact of mobile communication cannot be underestimated.
  • With this growth in mobile devices, it seems appropriate to ask what completely new things might be afforded by mobile media for learning.
  • The discussion of learning environments and mobile media grants educators an opportunity to adopt methods of situated, contextual, just-in-time, participatory, and personalized learning.
  • Theory aside, it seems common sense that instruction should be performed in the most authentic context possible to practice and demonstrate useful learning, which mobile learning environments can facilitate.
Leveraging Place Based Mobile Games for Language Learning

Christopher L. Holden & Julie M. Sykes


This paper builds on the emerging body of research aimed at exploring the educational potential of mobile technologies, specifically, how to leverage place-based, augmented reality mobile games for language learning. We draw on our experiences with Mentira –
the first place-based, augmented reality mobile game for learning Spanish in a local neighborhood in the Southwestern United States – to explore both the complexities and benefits of integrating mobile games in second and foreign language learning contexts.
We first discuss relevant background issues and then describe theMentiraproject, including an exploration of the setting, narrative, gameplay, and curriculum. This is followed by a discussion of initial findings and future goals. We address gameplay, the importance of ‘place’ for language learning, and the role of student buy-in. The paper concludes with future considerations for the continued use of mobile games projects for language learning as well as other disciplines.

Using a studio-based pedagogy to engage students in the design of mobile-based media

James Mathews


The article presents a brief overview of the Neighborhood Game Design Project, a studio-based curriculum intervention aimed at engaging students in the design of place-based mobile games and interactive stories using geo-locative technologies (e.g., GPS enabled cell phones). It describes the three curricular components that defined the project, then highlights how a studio method was used to guide students’ design work and develop their design literacies. In particular, the article focuses on one of the main design activities students engaged in – collaboratively designing an Augmented Reality simulation – and explores how the embedded design practices align with a socio-cultural view of literacy (Gee, 2004; Jenkins, Purushotma, Clinton, Weigel, & Robison, 2006; Lankshear and Knobel, 2007; Robison, 2009).