Paper No. 178-6
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
DEVELOPMENT OF A MULTI-LEVEL EDUCATIONAL SMART DEVICE APPLICATION TO SUPPLEMENT TRAIL INTERPRETATION AT FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
People of all ages and educational backgrounds travel to Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument to experience the natural resources of the park. Existing trail exhibits at Florissant attempt to target this diverse audience through compelling, succinct language and avoid in-depth discussions and complex topics, instead hoping visitors will be inspired through staff interactions or bookstore offerings. Our research objective is to explore visitor reactions to “in the moment” free choice learning through visitor interaction with a multi-level smart device application, Florissant Explorer: a tool to facilitate deeper learning at the monument. This research project was in part driven by Geoscientist-in-the-Park paleontology interns, who synthesized high-level geologic concepts critical to the comprehension of Florissant’s geology and produced scripts, graphics, paleoreconstructions, and other media. Florissant Explorer will let visitors choose from three different interpretive levels: a "Junior Ranger"; an inquisitive park visitor; and an advanced science student. At each of the nine exhibits along Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument’s Geologic Trail, the application will enrich visitor experience by providing information on topics ranging from the origins of Precambrian granites and Eocene volcanics to climate methods used in paleobotany. One example of this is at the trail exhibit titled "A Mammoth Change in Climate," where the application will explain concepts as complex as major climate change illustrated in the Zachos curve. This app will be an innovative prototype with the potential for application to other National Park Service units as a national model. Florissant Explorer supports the mission of the National Park Service by fostering public education and awareness of our planet, and the multi-level nature of the application is designed to facilitate learning about the need for preservation of the natural world in students of all ages.