Spatial Kids' Tour Of The Michigan 4H Children's Garden
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sample analysis screen

Our mission is to create a parallel virtual experience that in its own virtual way is as rich in exploration, surprises, learning, and fun as the real children's garden. The kids' tour is an ever expanding project which links to 9 years of professional and student software development. The interface is incredibly dense with a single screen acting as a portal to myriad panoramas, QTVRs garden eCards, garden videos, interactive games and stories, garden vocabulary in American Sign Language, and information for teachers and parents. The project embodies elegant, natural integration of virtual and real worlds.

This project was partially supported by a grant from the Dow Foundation. It is featured as an Apple Learning Exchange exhibit as a virtual field trip, including video reflections and advice for teachers on using the site with kids.

Director of Software Development: Carrie Heeter
Content Director and Virtual Curator: "Dr. Norm" Lownds

Lead Programmer and Artist: Ben Rhodes
Lead Developer and Artist: Mihai Peteu
QTVR and Flash Panoramas: Mihai Peteu, Sulakshana Gopal, Pete Maziak, Brian Winn, Ben Rhodes
Videographer: Pete Maziak
eCard Programming: Brian Winn, Ben Rhodes
Production Assistant: Laura Portwood-Stacer

The project involved six months of intensive programming (and years of content development) to develop this flexible, expandable interface. Many of the interactive games were created by students as class projects. We wrote a series of detailed tutorials for anyone interested in creating a similar project.

Research is underway to understand how kids and grownups as well as boys and girls of different ages explore the real and virtual gardens, and how these parallel explorations impact (and hopefully enhance) each other.


The Kids Tour was selected for presentation at a Professional Interaction Design Portfolio Panel at the 2002 International CHI (Computer Human Interaction) conference in Minneapolis.

  Copyright © 2003 Michigan State University. All Rights Reserved.