developer: Minnesota Historical Society
genre: puzzle(augmented visit)
educational purpose: history
target audience: grades 4-6
H&H taxonomy class: historical reconstruction
release date: 2013
Gold winner of the 2014 International Serious Play award, Play the Past is demonstrating how museums can use technology with large numbers of students to create self-directed, collaborative, and responsive fieldtrip experiences. The program content is aligned with national and state academic standards. The technology allows students to have deeper engagement with museum content, during the fieldtrip itself and through follow-on classroom activities.
Each student gets a brief video orientation to the exhibit and applications and checks into the exhibit using a QR code and a mobile device to set up a personalized account. Students use an in-gallery mobile app to embark on quests in which they solve challenges based on the experience of real Minnesotans in the past. The quests are tied to one of the exhibit’s interactive explorations or “hubs” focused on the fur trade, iron mining, and life in a sod house.
The items students scan or collect during the game are stored in digital backpacks. All of the items in the students' digital backpacks are downloadable and re-usable and have information and links for further research and deeper exploration. Students also digitally record their experiences by taking pictures, recording audio, and capturing notes for later classroom activities. Teachers use a web application to access their students’ accounts and share collected content for classroom follow-on, like the production of presentations, videos, posters, websites, stories, or blogs.