iSaveSpecies Summative Evaluation Report

July 25th, 2016 | EVALUATION

The iSaveSpecies project was created by Project Dragonfly at Miami University, in partnership with a national consortium of zoos and aquariums. A central goal of the project was designing and implementing a socially-networked exhibit system to engage family visitors to zoos and aquariums in inquiry and conservation, and the inquiry and action tools created under iSaveSpecies resulted in an evolving library of exhibit interactives adapted by partner institutions to suit the particular needs of their visitors. This report focuses on the two waves of networked exhibit kiosks: the first wave focused on “Great Apes,” and the second wave focused on “Sustaining Life,” that were placed in eight zoos throughout the country.

Data were collected onsite at each of the zoos from adult visitors (N=1,978). Two types of participants were sought—those who used an iSaveSpecies kiosk and those who did not—to complete a questionnaire (n=1,818) or an interview (n=160).

The study found that visitors who engaged with the iSaveSpecies kiosks reported using basic science inquiry skills during their zoo visit. Relative to visitors who did not interact with iSaveSpecies kiosks, visitors who interacted were, by significant margins, more likely to report that they made a prediction, recorded information about an animal’s behavior, compared research results with others, listened to the different calls animals made, and talked with others about what they observed or did. Almost all visitors (>97%), regardless of whether they interacted with an iSaveSpecies kiosk, reported that they observed an animal carefully for more than a few seconds—there was no significant difference between groups on this inquiry skill.

Visitors who interacted with the iSaveSpecies kiosks reported feeling that they were more knowledgeable about how to study an animal, understood animals better, might like to study animals, and could investigate animal behavior through careful observation. Additionally, zoo visitors interacting with the kiosks indicated that they felt they could help the animals by protecting their environment, sharing conservation messages (either through the poster or by talking with others), or donating money to the zoo or other conservation organizations. However, the majority of those interviewed were unable to articulate anything these experiences introduced or remind them of that they might do to help the animals. Finally, visitors who interacted with the iSaveSpecies kiosks felt it added value to their zoo visit.

Appendix contains instruments.



Team Members

Mary Ann Wojton, Evaluator, Lifelong Learning Group
Joe E Heimlich, Evaluator, Lifelong Learning Group


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: AISL
Award Number: 1010938

Related URLs

Saving Species: Socially-Networked Exhibits for Science Inquiry and Public Action


Audience: Adults | Evaluators | Families | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Life science
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Research and Evaluation Instruments | Summative | Survey
Environment Type: Aquarium and Zoo Exhibits | Exhibitions