Innovations in Development: The Use of Mobile Applications for Informal Learning in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park

September 1st, 2014 - August 31st, 2017 | PROJECT

This project will bring STEM content knowledge to visitors to Cuyahoga Valley National Park via mobile device applications. Visitors will be able to use their mobile phones to access details about Park features (such as where they are in the park, what they are looking at, and where are related features), supporting just-in-time STEM learning. Cuyahoga Valley National Park receives around 2.5 million visitors every year and experiences multitudes of inquiries. Until this project, visitors were subjected to less than optimum signage for information and background about a given feature that may or may not be of interest to them. In this project, knowledge building information will be selected by the visitors and delivered to them with convenience and speed. The data base supporting this effort will provide the visitor with identification and the history of park features as well as more in depth knowledge building information while they are in the park and after the leave, providing a more holistic experience than is currently available. The investigators will build the system in parts, testing the feasibility at each stage and evaluating affective and cognitive outcomes of each portion. Research questions that will be addressed in the course of this project include: (1) What outcomes associated with use of this GPS-base system could inform future development and implementation? and (2) What contributions do these GPS-based mobile learning applications have on informal science learning as understood within the Six Strands of Informal Science Learning? It is expected knowledge generated in this project will stimulate additional programing for increasing efficacy and use in other widely ranging venues. If successful, it is easy to imagine how this STEM knowledge-building application could be extended for use in other venues across the country.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Poster - The Use of Mobile Applications for Informal Science Learning in Parks
Video - The Use of Mobile Applications for Informal Science Learning

Team Members

Richard Ferdig, Principal Investigator, Kent State University
Ruoming Jin, Co-Principal Investigator, Kent State University
Patrick Lorch, Co-Principal Investigator, Kent State University
Annette Kratcoski, Co-Principal Investigator, Kent State University


Funding Source: NSF
Award Number: 1422764
Funding Amount: 632243


Audience: General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | General STEM | Geoscience and geography | Life science
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Media and Technology | Park | Outdoor | Garden Programs | Parks | Outdoor | Garden Exhibits | Public Programs | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media