University of Patras (GREECE)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 7684-7690
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Engaging museum visitors through game playing is an approach that has been used extensively by many museums and cultural institutions. Location based games are facilitated by mobile technologies and have been implemented in various kinds of museums, like archaeological, historical, cultural, science, art galleries, etc. However a particularly hard case to implement playful activities and measure learning outcome is that of museums of contemporary art. In this paper we describe Taggling, a game designed for a Contemporary Art Museum, focusing in particular in the learning patterns observed to visitors of the museum when playing the game. Taggling is like a card sorting game where players are engaged in untangling a set of tags that describe different artworks so as each tag to be placed in the corresponding artwork. The game is designed to be played by teams, each equipped with a mobile device. Teams play against each other to gain as many points as possible until the game is over. The game ends when all tags are placed in the correct artworks. Each of the artworks integrated in the game is associated to a set of tags (5 in the implementation we describe here) that apply to it. Tags are treated as individual objects and exhibits as placeholders for tags. The mobile devices are used for moving tags between exhibits.

Tags are mixed up at the beginning of every session: some “are located” in the wrong exhibits and some others in the players’ devices. The aim is to move tags to the right exhibits using the mobile devices as a “means of transport”. This is achieved by scanning QR codes associated to exhibits in order to transfer tags from the exhibits to the mobile devices and vice versa. Each team is invited to approach the artwork, observe its characteristics, inspect and transfer tags, by replacing irrelevant tags with the correct ones.

Taggling mechanics were inspired by the concept of carrying around items in order to place them in the right places using the mobile device as a carriage and museum exhibits as placeholders for these items. In Taggling we took further this idea mainly from a learning perspective. Specifically, we identified for each object “items of contact” and we verbalized them as tags. Thus tags represent keywords or short phrases that are designed to guide the players’ attention on specific characteristics associated with the object. The tags have been organized in certain categories that assent to the diversity of contemporary art. Talking about the contemporary artwork is more challenging than dealing with traditional art, as contemporary practices are so diverse that sometimes an artist’s work may have no permanent physical presence, may be “invisible” or may be a complicated interaction of space, place and viewer. Therefore the categories of information driven by the tags were built in order to respond to its different intrinsic qualities. One of the major objectives of Taggling is to engage the visitor with contemporary art on as many levels as possible, starting from the obvious, perceivable and concrete components (such as size, material, constructive properties, kinetic parts etc.) to the more abstract and conceptual qualities, such as aesthetic values or notions regarding the artworks’ content, as observed in various cases of visitor interaction during game play, discussed in the paper.
Game based learning, museum learning, contemporary art.