Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cell Phones in Learning: Disney Style

Geography, mapping skills, and attention to details are key to solving clues as you help Team Kim Possible stop 7 major villains from taking over the world. Each villain is in a "country" in Epcot. You're job is to learn about the culture so as to solve clues to prevent the bad guys from completing their quest for world domination.

Disney World in Florida has an attraction based in Epcot called: Disney's Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure. It's a mystery game where individual or a team follow clues to different locations in one of seven world culture stages. Clues are communicated via cell phone.

I visited a Kim Possible station, where upon registering for my family, the KP Team member gave us a cell phone. Using its video capabilities, one of Kim's friends directed us to our destination: Japan. Each adventure is composed of about 5 quests, which took us throuhout the cultural center. At designated hotspots, we used the cell phone to activate more clues such as a baby robot peeking out of store shelves, a monkey statue rising out of the water, and spirits inhabiting a glowing chimney.

The kids loved the experience. They plowed through the clues, never allowing frustration at a subtle hint or evidence to deter. Each adventure took 30 to 40 minutes to complete, and the kids never tired. Japan, Great Britain, China, and Norway. We visited museums, stores, and restaurants. Each had history to tell and another clue to solve.
While Disney's approach might seem to some as too complex, it's not when you consider the power of Web Quests. Cell phones with internet access turns webquests into mobile activities through out the building and beyond. Every team, not each student, needs a cell phone to use. This elliminates the concern of access for everyone. It's even possible for one person, the teacher, to input data on the phone and give out instructions for the next step in the exploration. Students moving around, exploring their surroundings to connect abstact concepts to their world, is a powerful learning experience.

More pictures from my adventure in crime fighting.
Webquest Resources: