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Designing an adaptive multimedia interactive to support shared learning experiences

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With the aid of new technologies, integrated design approaches
are becoming increasingly incorporated into exhibit design in
museums, aquaria and science centres. These settings share many
similar design constraints that need to be addressed when
designing multimedia interactives as exhibits. The use of adaptive
systems and techniques can overcome many of the constraints
inherent in these environments as well as enhance the educational
content they incorporate. Our main design goal was to facilitate a
process to create user centric, collaborative and reflective learning
spaces around the smart multimedia interactives. We were
interested in encouraging deeper exploration of the content than
what is typically possible through wall signage, video display or a
supplemental web page. We discuss techniques to bring adaptive
systems into public informal learning settings, and validate these
techniques in a major aquarium with a beluga simulation
interactive. The virtual belugas, in a natural pod context, learn and
alter their behavior based on contextual visitor interaction. Data
from researchers, aquarium staff and visitors was incorporated
into the evolving interactive, which uses physically based systems
for natural whale locomotion and water, artificial intelligence
systems to simulation natural behavior, all of which respond to
user input. The interactive allows visitors to engage in educational
"what-if" scenarios of wild beluga emergent behavior using a
shared tangible interface controlling a large screen display. Copyright ACM, 2006. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive
version was published in In ACM SIGGRAPH 2006 Educators program (p. 14). Boston, Massachusetts: ACM. doi:10.1145/1179295.1179310
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