Innovative Installation Opens at San Diego Museum

Today, Qualcomm, the San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) and School in the Park (SITP) announced an installation that uses wireless devices (tablets) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology to create instructional tools. This installation is a result of a collaboration with School in the Park, a program that works with San Diego schools and institutions like the SDMA to provide kids with hands-on learning opportunities. These learning applications will soon be available to the public as part of the museum’s Asian Corner exhibit.

At the unveiling of the exhibit,Nathan Fletcher of Qualcomm, Sandra Benito and museum educators from SDMA provided an overview of the installation, followed by a demonstration of the “The Silk Road” application - an AR Experience used by educators and students from Rosa Parks Elementary and Hamilton Elementary that are now being made available to the public.

Qualcomm first launched this program with School in the Park in 2009 in order to engage students in ways they don’t often experience in a traditional classroom setting. Using Vuforia, Qualcomm’s Augmented Reality (AR) platform, SITP created an application that allows students to use wireless to gain additional information and interact with their surroundings. Students became more engaged learners, active participants, and ready collaborators.

Since its inception, the program has steadily grown to include additional museums, educators, classrooms and content. To date, the project has brought together the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego Zoo, and San Diego History Center.

The impact of this program currently is being analyzed by Project Tomorrow as part of a larger study on the ways mobile and Augmented Reality technologies can impact the learning experience. Preliminary results show that students have gained a deeper and broader understanding of course material as a result of these interactive applications.

As a result of the program’s success, Qualcomm, SITP and SDMA are now making these applications part of a permanent installation at the Museum.

SITP used Vuforia™, Qualcomm’s Augmented Reality platform, to create an application that allow students in a learning setting to use a wireless device for information gathering, communication and personal expression.

The AR Experiences in this application are simulations that merge the physical environment with digital data about that environment through a mobile device or a tablet. These devices allow the participants to view a layer of digital information that has been superimposed upon their physical surrounding, giving them access to additional information about their surroundings. This information can provide insight or it can be a series of interlinked video/audio/text presentations that “tells a story” about the environment. In a museum setting, the experiences with original works of art can be enhanced with information that the participant can select on the device.

In addition, the use of Augmented Reality-specific roles, virtual interactions, and data gathering techniques supports the communication & collaboration, research & information literacy, and critical thinking, problem solving & decision making aspects of National Educational Technology Standards (NETS).

School in the Park is an innovative program that shifts the location of "school" from a traditional classroom setting in an inner-city school, to the resources and educational opportunities available at museums in Balboa Park. The plan allows all third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade students to spend two to three weeks at San Diego's famous Balboa Park, where they participate in week-long educational programs at nine institutions. The students spend almost twenty-five percent of their time learning in this hands-on, real world setting.