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Evaluating Ghosts of a Chance, the Module Game

Evaluating the Ghosts of a Chance module game as an educational experience for teens and children
by

Georgina Goodlander

on 5 April 2010

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Transcript of Evaluating Ghosts of a Chance, the Module Game

Ghosts of a Chance - Evaluating the Module Game
Summary: The Smithsonian American Art Museum held a public game of "Ghosts of a Chance" on Sunday, June 28, 2009. All participants were invited to complete a survey upon finishing the game. We received 59 responses.
Goal: To find out which aspects of the game were the most engaging

Survey Question: What was most interesting about the game?

Result: Overall, participants enjoyed the opportunity to explore the museum and they liked the variety of clues, tasks, and artworks that the game incorporated. With specific tasks, the stone code around the Georgia Stele sculpture was by far the favorite.

Goal: To find out which aspects of the game were the least engaging.

Survey Question: What would you change about the game?

Result: Happily, the largest number of people (19) didn’t want to change anything about the game. 13 people thought we should make it harder or longer. Several people wanted more puzzle-like clues, including codes and anagrams, rather than simple clues that just asked a question.
Goal: To find out if the game would make visitors more likely to visit the museum again.

Survey Questions: Have you visited the American Art Museum before?
Now that you’ve played the game, do you think you will come back to the Smithsonian American Art Museum?

Result:
What was most interesting about the game?
What would you change about the game?
Have you visited the American Art Museum before?
Now that you’ve played the game, do you think you will come back?
Goal: To find out if players would remember artworks included in the game.

Survey Question: Can you remember any of the artworks you’ve seen today? Please describe the most memorable one to me.

Result: There were fifteen artworks included in the game. Participants remembered nine of them, with Electronic Superhighway, The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly (Hampton’s Throne), Marla, Sacred Heart of Healing, and Eve Tempted as the favorites. Players also remembered a handful of artworks that were not included in the game.
Can you remember any of the artworks you’ve seen today?
Goal: To find out if the game altered visitors' perspectives on how "fun" the museum is.

Survey Question: Now that you've been to this museum, do you think the museum is fun or boring? Please give us a rating between one and seven with one being boring and seven being fun.

Result: Participants gave the museum very high ratings with 44% giving it the maximum score of seven, and 85% giving it a score of five or more.
Do you think the museum is fun or boring? (1 = totally boring, 7 = lots of fun)
Goal: To find out how players would describe the experience.

Survey Question: How would describe this game to your friends or family?

Result: The most used word by far was FUN. Other popular words were awesome, scavenger, hunt, museum, interesting, art, great, challenging, adventure, explore, game, and exciting.
Image created using http://www.wordle.net. View at http://www.wordle.net/gallery/wrdl/999959/Ghosts_of_a_Chance_descriptive_words
Appendix!
How old are you?
How often do you use your phone to:
3. Can you remember any of the artworks you’ve seen today? Please describe the most memorable one to me. (Age of participant in parentheses.)
•Neon United States (10)
•Electronic Super Highway (17)
•Electronic Super Highway (17)
•James Hampton The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly (37)
•Tin Man’s Daughter (41)
•Hiram Powers’ America was stunning – wish there was an explanation of the metal supports through the piece. (28)
•Hampton’s Throne – made out of aluminum foil. (41)
•The stone sculpture. (nr)
•There was a sculpture in front of a scenery painting at the end of the main hall at the Gilded Age end. It had amazing character and feeling. (25)
•Not actually part of the “quests” sculpture at end of hall in Gilded Age 2nd floor sculpture of a seated woman in long robes. (25)
•Tin Man’s Daughter Marla, Throne, and Glass Heart (nr)
•The Tin Man’s Daughter (11)
•I thoroughly enjoyed the Witch of Endor. The looks on their faces was sheer terror and portrayed perfectly. (27)
•My favorite was Hampton’s Throne of Heaven Sculpture; it was intricate and novel. (I also liked the subsequent clue, which requires players to notice the “Fear Not” sign above the throne. (35)
•It’s called Hope (7)
•The red glass heart was very unique. (10)
•The neon map was extremely cool and exciting. (13)
•Red heart (40)
•Throne (46)
•America is the most memorable to me (7 ¾)
•Cube sculpture with secret code (5)
•America by Powers (40)
•Eve was my favorite, also the neon United States was interesting. (19)
•Fear Not (45)
•Eve, with the snake and the apples. (17)
•Eve. (44)
•Marla, followed by the glass heart. (25)
•The glass heart with the blue crown coming out (nr)
•Hampton’s Throne (24)
•The shiny throne (22)
•Neon USA – lights around map, with (?) (21)
•Glass heart (22)
•The map of the US (19)
•USA Neon map (14)
•Neon map (17)
•Eve Tempted and stone sculpture and Harlem (sic) Throne (41,41,11,6,9)
•The tin girl (44)
•A naked lady holding an apple (eve) (8)
•Driftwood horse, face jugs, pottery (nr)
•David Hockney – snail art with lights (7 and 43)
•Neon US map with TV screens (10)
•The lady eating – I thought she was real! (nr)
•Driftwood horse in Lincoln (nr)
•Tin girl, aluminum foil shrine, Eve, neon America, Lady eating lunch (45)
•Neon map of the US (57)
•Tin Man’s Daughter (64)
•Tin Girl (43)
•Tin Man’s Daughter (54)

4. What was most interesting about the game? (Age of participant in parentheses.)
•Exploring the museum (10)
•Running around in circles (17)
•Running around in circles (17)
•Counting tiles (37)
•Aluminum foil sculpture (9)
•Counting tiles at the Court (41)
•I liked that it took me to different areas of the building. (28)
•Going from room to room. (9)
•Exploring so many aspects of the museum. (41)
•Exploring the different areas of the museum. The cipher that was built around the stone sculpture was the most interesting clue. (nr)
•The puzzle in the stone sculpture code. (25)
•Puzzle in stone sculpture. (25)
•Making the spirit and reading the clues (nr)
•Intrigue – Lots and lots of STAIRS! (40+)
•Where the clues were and the texting (11)
•The combination of sculptures and artwork. (27)
•I liked the variety of the clues. Some, such as using the Stele to select letters in a grid, were quite original. (35)
•That you got to see things as you go along. (7)
•That each art piece fit to the game like a puzzle. (10)
•Going all around the museum. (13)
•Looking for each pieces/clues at strange places. (40)
•The Checkers sculpture. (7)
•The quest in finding the items within the museum. (46)
•Probaly (sic) when I found out what the secret code sayed (sic) (7 ¾)
•Hints (5)
•Exposing kids to art (40)
•The game was fun and took you to all sorts of places. The most interesting was the clues and what we had to find out. (19)
•The chaining of clues (45)
•The code using the sculpture (17)
•The letter using the sculpture puzzle. (44)
•The coded puzzle using the Stele (25)
•Seeing the variety of things in the building. (nr)
•The puzzle/code/rock thing (22)
•Going out into the museum (21)
•Having fun (22)
•WINNING (19)
•That you got to go around (9)
•The art (14)
•Finding the art (17)
•The clues (41,41,11,6,9)
•Going to nooks and crannies in the museum (44)
•Everything (8)
•Varied clues to all over the museum (nr)
•It was really hard and fun (7 and 43)
•The most interesting thing was deciphering the code (10)
•The series of clues (nr)
•Everything – awesome concept (nr)
•Seeing everything and wanting to come back! (45)
•All of the different types of clues/puzzles (57)
•The race (64)
•Neon map (43)
•Racing to beat the other team (54)

5. What would you change about the game? (Age of participant in parentheses.)
•I liked it the way it was (10)
•More puzzle-like questions (17)
•Different scenarios (17)
•None x 4
•Nothing x 12
•I worry that it is not wheelchair accessible (but it’s not a big deal) (28)
•Make it harder not just going from place to place. (9)
•It started slow (Daisy’s mysteries). Daniel’s hunt was a bit more challenging and we enjoyed that – so please add more “puzzles.” (41)
•I would include more thoughtful puzzles. Many clues simply told us which room the next clue was in, but there were only two clues that required cognitive thinking. (nr)
•More putting together clues in puzzles, less running around. 3rd-1st-3rd-1st-3rd. Should be 3rd-1st-1st-3rd-3rd. (25)
•More puzzles less running around (not from the 1st to the 3rd floors and back so much). (25)
•More variety in terms of the location of the clues. Additionally, have 2 clues at each location, with one being more challenging. (27)
•The clues were a little too literal. I would prefer ones with more wordplay, such as anagrams. (In one of the first clues, I was sure “Hampton” was going to be an anagram of phantom, given the ghost theme). (35)
•I would change the part where you have to walk back and forth. (10)
•More detailed instructions. (13)
•You would only find them on the 3rd floor. (7)
•Longer, involving more aspects of the museum. (46)
•I would make switches for scary noises and stuff. (7 ¾)
•Noises scare me (5)
•Not exactly age appropriate for our group. It took us 2 ½ hours to complete (40 w/ kids 7 and 5)
•If you teamed with other museums the clues could not be accidentally found. (45)
•Video clip volume. (17)
•Make the video clips louder, and put clues in the clips (maybe they were there, but we couldn’t hear). (44)
•Make it harder – favorite clue was Hampton’s Throne – or have people answer questions based on more in-depth reading. Make it timed for (??) prizes(?). The key clue was confusing since there are multiple stone sculptures. Perhaps leave a clue that says you won’t find peaches here. (25)
•Make it a bit longer. (nr)
•Tougher clues – more play on words. Make it Smithsonian-wide. (24)
•More! (22)
•Do it in American History too! (21)
•More museums more clues (22)
•I liked the more complicated part with the code (19)
•Length (17)
•Have more clues, spread out the teams, make it harder (41,41,11,6,9)
•I would add a little more that requires looking at the art, like the clue that asked how many people were in a sculpture (44)
•Not a thing as long as I have a 12 year old to text (nr)
•Make it not so hard (7 and 43)
•I wouldn’t compete and take more time to enjoy the artwork (nr)
•I would choose not to compete against another team so I could do it more leisurely (nr)
•Nothing. It was the best! (45)

6. How would describe this game to your friends or family? (Age of participant in parentheses.)
•It’s fun, exciting and you get to explore the museum (10)
•Fun if you like art (17)
•Addicting! (17)
•I enjoyed it very much. I recommend it. (37)
•It was fun this game (9)
•Exciting exploring (41)
•It was a blast – fun introduction to the Luce Center especially! (28)
•Fun (9)
•A museum adventure hunt. (41)
•Interesting, fun. (nr)
•Treasure hunt for artwork. (25)
•Scavenger hunt up and down the American Art Museum, fun not terribly challenging (25)
•Fun (nr)
•Lots of fun – Need to know how to text! (40+)
•A fun and entertaining game about texting and saving many things. (11)
•It is a fun way to explore a new museum. (27)
•It’s a fun was to spend a couple of hours, and children would enjoy it too. (35)
•A fun entertaining thing to do with your family. (7)
•A mystery game that always kept you on the balls of your feet. (10)
•Really fun (13)
•Interesting, fun, educational. (40)
•Fun, lots of walking. (7)
•Fun adventure. (40)
•I would describe it as fun, challenging, and kinda scary. (7 ¾)
•Great treasure hunting (5)
•Lots of fun (40)
•Very fun and interesting also you learn a lot. (19)
•Pretty awesome. On par with [Washington] Post hunt. (45)
•An art museum scavenger hunt. (17)
•Fun (44)
•A great way to get engaged with an art museum and fun for all ages. (25)
•Fun!!! Engaging, art for novices. (nr)
•Awesome x 4
•WTF Awesome (22)
•Interesting (9)
•A scavenger hunt (14)
•Scavenger hunt (17)
•Scavenger/clue hunt (41,41,11,6,9)
•A lot of fun for kids and adults – a real scavenger hunt! (44)
•Awesome, challenging, and fun (8)
•A grand way to spend an afternoon (nr)
•Really, really fun and we went all over the museum (7 and 43)
•Fun and tricky (10)
•Lots of fun. An interesting way to explore the museum (nr)
•Highly recommend (nr)
•A high level fun non-computerized day at the museum (45)
•Challenging, need attention to detail (57)
•Great afternoon of fun! (64)
•What a fantastic time?? (43)
•A great adventure – good overview of the gallery (54)

7. Would you like to design a new Quest for this game? What would happen in the Quest? (Age of participant in parentheses.)
•Something related to “Night at the Museum” or “National Treasure.” You would find different treasures related to them. (10)
•Alien abductions, time machine, guest appearances by celebrities. (17)
•I would like to find a way to make the successive pieces of art all relate to each other. To form a continuity of thought between the works. Finding the same characters (from history, myth, etc.) from one medium or century to another, etc. (28)
•You would go to every room in the museum and you would be capturing ghosts. (9)
•Contact me at thelarom@gmail.com when I have more time to contemplate. (25)
•I will have to think on this one… (40+)
•You would go around and find clues (pretty obvious!). Then you would have to find stuff on the artwork and text it is. Like what color is the ____ and how many dots is on, etc. (11)
•Some sort of chronological story beginning in the 16th century – 20th century. That way the entire museum would be utilized. The main character would be an immortal living through this entire time period. (27)
•I’d like to think about it; but there would be wordplay, and it would exploit intrinsic components of the artwork (such as the Stele boxes, and the “Fear Not” in the throne sculpture), and maybe it would involve geographic and chronological aspects. (35)
•You would have a watch that you can communicate with and try to save a lot of people (the wizard of oz). (7)
•The same things, except making sure the people working here knew what we were talking about when we asked them. (13)
•We would find clues all over the place. (5)
•I would send people outside the museum, like to the DeGarre (sp?) sculpture. (45)
•Photograph yourself in specific places with the artworks so participants have automatic souvenirs. (25)
•You would be prompted to take pictures with things while posing. Theme: US history through the ages (e.g. Colonial, Revo, early 19th, Civil War, Late 19th,… etc.) (nr)
•Yes! Time-travel! John.hollwitz@gmail.com (sp?) (24)
•Fire-breathing monsters (22)
•There’d be no survivors (21)
•Everything (22)
•Too long (17)
•Something with all the same theme – fruits, people, children, etc. (45)
•The same kinda clues using multiple media(?) again in computers (?) (43)
Full Survey Responses...
Electronic Superhighway
Marla
Eve Tempted
Hope
Hampton's Throne
Sacred Heart of Healing
America
Georgia Stele
Saul and the Witch of Endor
Georgia Stele Code
The Ghosts of a Chance module game takes place on site at the
Smithsonian American Art Museum. Groups can play by appointment,
or as walk-ins during our public game once a month. Between December 7,
2008 and July 15, 2009, we have had more than 900 participants. The game
takes players all over the museum and asks them to send text messages,
answer questions, decipher codes, follow maps, find hidden objects, and
make sculptures. The game is designed for players aged twelve and above,
but younger children can participate with their families (and often do).

See http://www.americanart.si.edu/calendar/activities/ghosts/ for
information on how to play!
Contact me with comments and
questions at GoodlanderG@si.edu
or on Twitter @bathlander
Full transcript