Citation
Butterfly discovery : the creation of an interactive web-based learning environment for the Florida Museum of Natural History

Material Information

Title:
Butterfly discovery : the creation of an interactive web-based learning environment for the Florida Museum of Natural History
Series Title:
Butterfly discovery : the creation of an interactive web-based learning environment for the Florida Museum of Natural History
Creator:
Sabo, Jennifer L. ( Dissertant )
Willumson, Glenn ( Thesis advisor )
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publisher:
College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
2004

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Butterflies ( jstor )
Childrens games ( jstor )
Educational activities ( jstor )
Educational environment ( jstor )
Educational evaluation ( jstor )
Educational games ( jstor )
Learning ( jstor )
Learning motivation ( jstor )
Museums ( jstor )
Online learning ( jstor )
Florida Museum of Natural History ( local )

Notes

General Note:
Museum Studies terminal project
General Note:
Project in lieu of thesis

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
003666516 ( alephbibnum )
75959030 ( oclc )

Full Text










BUTTERFLY DISCOVERY: THE CREATION OF AN INTERACTIVE WEB-BASED
LEARNING ENVIRONMENT FOR THE FLORIDA MUSEUM OF NATURAL
HISTORY














By

JENNIFER L. SABO


A SUMMARY OF PROJECT OPTION IN LIEU OF THESIS
PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2004

































Copyright 2004

by

Jennifer L. Sabo













ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


I wish to thank the following people for their advice and assistance with the creation of
the Butterfly Discovery game:


Jamie Creola,
Dr. Jaret Daniels,
Dr. Betty Dunckel,
Christine Eliazar,
Dr. Thomas Emmel,
Sarah Fazenbaker,
Jeff Gage,
Dale Johnson,
Darcie MacMahon,
Bill Paine,
Dr. Craig Roland,
James Schlachta,
Dr. Graig Shaak,
Dr. Andrei Sourakov,
Dr. Glenn Willumson














TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.....................................................................iii

LIST OF FIGURES................................................................ .............v

ABSTRACT.......................................................................................vi

INTRODUCTION................................................................................ ...1

THE BUTTERFLY DISCOVERY GAME......................................................3

Overarching Concepts.................................................................3
Goals of the Game...................................................... ....................3
Playing the Game........................ .............................. ....................4
Design of the Game.......................................................................6

A JUSTIFICATION FOR INCORPORATING INTERACTIVITY IN EDUCATIONAL
WEBSITES ...................................................... ................ ................... ......12

Defining Interactivity on the Web..................................................... 12
Educational Theory and its Influence on Butterfly Discovery..... ....................13
Interactive Frameworks..................................................................18
Creative Play/ Production................................................................ 23

EVALUATION.................................................................................. ..24

Formative Evaluation...................................................................24
Summative Evaluation for Remediation Purposes.................................24
Final Summative Evaluation.............................................................27
Conclusions ...................................... ............................ ...... ....27

APPENDIX ....................................... ........................... ..............30

1. Interview Questions- Version 1.................................................... 30
2. Interview Questions- Version 2...................................................31
3. Summative Evaluation Data........................................................32

REFERENCE LIST...............................................................................35













LIST OF FIGURES

Figure Dage

1 Version 1- Build a Butterfly........................................................... 6

2 Version 2- Body Stage...............................................................................

3 Version 2- My Butterfly Stage................................................. ............8

4 Version 3- Splash Page (animated) ....................................................9

5 Version 3- Body Stage......................................................... .........10

6 Version 3- My Butterfly Stage...........................................................10













Summary of Project Option in Lieu of Thesis
Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Master of Arts

BUTTERFLY DISCOVERY: THE CREATION OF AN INTERACTIVE WEB-BASED
LEARNING ENVIRONMENT FOR THE FLORIDA MUSEUM OF NATURAL
HISTORY

By

Jennifer L. Sabo

August 2004

Chair: Glenn Willumson
Major Department: Art and Art History

Learning is most often associated with school or workplace training. Much of

what we learn across our lifespan, however, is learned outside the classroom or office

during free-choice learning. Free-choice learning enables the learner to control what they

learn, how they learn it, and the context in which learning occurs. Museums are very

effective in promoting free-choice learning and can increase learning possibilities for

their constituents by creating interactive web-based learning environments designed to

meet their visitors' educational needs. With this in mind, I created Butterfly Discovery.

Butterfly Discovery is an interactive, web-based educational game, developed for

the Florida Museum of Natural History's McGuire Center for Lepidoptera Study. Its

intended audience is children, ages 7-12. It was designed as both a pre-visit resource (to

help children who will be going to the museum gain prior knowledge), and a post-visit

resource (to reinforce the knowledge gained from a museum visit).








Through the incorporation of interactivity, Butterfly Discovery enables users to

personalize the information presented, construct their own knowledge, and create strong,

meaningful connections. Butterfly Discovery accomplishes this by allowing users to

navigate through the seven screens of the game, in order to "discover" a new species of

Lepidoptera through creative play and then to write about it. Although there is an

intended path for users to follow to gain the game's maximum educational value, users

may choose their own path through the game. Overall, Butterfly Discovery stimulates

interest in Lepidoptera and science in general, introduces biodiversity in Lepidoptera,

introduces Lepidoptera body structure, increases writing skills, allows children to play

creatively, and stimulates interest in the Florida Museum of Natural History's Butterfly

Rainforest.

The data collected during the final summative evaluation lead to the conclusion

that the Butterfly Discovery game is effective in reaching its intended educational goals in

its target audience. All study participants created a butterfly and 79% wrote about it.

Many children, enthusiastically said the game was fun. Seventy-nine percent of

participants said they now know more about butterflies then they did before playing the

game. Finally, all participants want to go to the butterfly center when it opens: 82% want

to go "a lot."














INTRODUCTION


"Learning is at its peak when individuals can exercise choice over what and when they

learn and feel that they control their own learning" (Falk and Dierking, 2000).



Learning is most often associated with school or workplace training. Much of

what we learn across our lifespan, however, is learned outside the classroom or office

during free-choice learning. Free-choice learning is "self-directed, voluntary, and guided

by an individual's needs and interests" (Institute for Learning Innovation, 2002). Free-

choice learning is very effective because it enables the learner to control what they learn,

how they learn it, and the context in which learning occurs. Museums are one type of

institution that promotes free-choice learning. They do this by engaging visitors'

curiosity, challenging them to think in new ways, and allowing them to interact with and

often control the environment in which they are learning. This increases visitor

confidence, and thereby increases the possibility that learning will occur.

Research has shown that children learn better when they feel in control and

confident in their environment (Falk and Dierking, 2000). One way museums can offer

more control to children is to create interactive web-based learning environments

designed for their educational needs. With this in mind, I developed an interactive,

educational web-based game, called Butterfly Discovery, as my thesis project. This game








provides children a feeling of control over their environment and stimulates children's

curiosity by challenging them to "discover" a new species of Lepidoptera in a playful

environment.














THE BUTTERFLY DISCOVERY GAME


Butterfly Discovery is an interactive, web-based educational game, designed for

the Florida Museum of Natural History's McGuire Center for Lepidoptera Study. Its

intended audience is children, ages 7-12. The game was designed as both a pre-visit

resource (to help children who will be going to the museum gain prior knowledge), and a

post-visit resource (to reinforce the knowledge gained from a museum visit). It can,

however, stand alone as an educational activity. In order to help teachers justify its use in

the classroom, Butterfly Discovery was designed to meet several of the Sunshine State

Standards (Florida's student achievement standards) in Language Arts and Science.



Overarching Concepts

1. Children will discover the many similarities and differences among species of

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) while "discovering" a new species.

2. Children will speculate that the species they "discovered" is one of the estimated

100,000 undiscovered butterflies and moths in the world.



Goals of the Game

1. Stimulate interest in Lepidoptera and science in general,

2. Introduce biodiversity in Lepidoptera,








3. Introduce Lepidoptera body structure,

4. Increase writing skills,

5. Allow children to creatively play (see page 23 for a discussion on creative play/

production),

6. Stimulate interest in the Florida Museum of Natural History's Butterfly Rainforest.



Playing the Game

Butterfly Discovery consists of seven screens through which the user navigates to

"discover" a new species of Lepidoptera and write about it. Although there is an

intended path for users to follow in order to gain the game's maximum educational value,

users may choose their own path through the game. Users may also choose whether or

not to read the educational text provided on each screen.

1. Screen one introduces users to the number of species of Lepidoptera that exist in

the world and the number believed to still be un-discovered.

2. Screen two gives users their assignment: to create a picture of a new species of

Lepidoptera they "discovered" by choosing its body, wing shape, and pattern, and

then to write about it.

3. Screen three begins by presenting the user information about Lepidoptera bodies.

After reading the text or electing to ignore it, users click on the "Choose a body"

button. This removes the informational text and brings up the eight body choices.

Users choose a body, which is immediately shown in the right box, and are then

directed to the next screen, "Wing Shape".








4. Screen four begins by presenting the user information about wing shapes. After

reading the text or electing to ignore it, users click on the "Choose a wing shape"

button. This removes the informational text and brings up the eight wing shape

choices. Users choose a wing shape, which is immediately shown in the right

box, adding to the body chosen in the previous stage. Users are then directed to

the next screen, "Pattern".

5. Screen five begins by presenting the user information about coloring and patterns.

After reading the text or electing to ignore it, users click on the "Choose a

pattern" button. This removes the informational text and brings up the eight

pattern choices. Users choose a pattern, which is immediately shown in the right

box, adding to the body and wing shape chosen in the previous two stages. Users

are then directed to the next screen, "About your Butterfly".

6. Screen six begins by presenting the user information about the similarities and

differences among species of Lepidoptera. After reading the text or electing to

ignore it, users click on the "See butterflies like yours" button. This removes the

informational text and reveals the completed butterfly in the right box. In the left

box actual butterflies with the selected body, wing shape, and color pattern are

shown. Users can choose to roll over these images in order to learn more about

these real butterflies. Users are then directed to the next screen, "My Butterfly".

7. Screen seven keeps the completed butterfly in the right box and presents the user

a series of writing prompts in the left box. In this section, users can choose a

name for their butterfly, decide where it lives, and determine how it defends itself.







In addition, screens three through seven have a start over button. Screens three through

six also have help buttons that give users instructions if needed. Finally, screen seven has

a print button that allows users to print their butterfly's picture along with their writings

about it.



Design of the Game

There are two important concepts to remember when creating an online

educational game. First, it is a very long process, which began for me in early October

when I approached the Florida Museum of Natural History with my proposal. Second, it

requires the participation of many people. Although I created the actual game, Butterfly

Discovery would not have been possible without a number of people who assisted by

providing exhibit text, scientific information, reference sources, photographs, and

professional advice. Numerous meetings and emails took place over the course of eight

months before the final version was completed. The following describes the process of

creating Butterfly Discovery.




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Figure 1: Version 1-Build a Butterfly


Figure 1: Version 1- Build a Butterfly








Before any code was written or any component of the game designed, I met with

the Office of Museum Technology (OMT) to discuss my ideas and to learn about the

Museum's restrictions. I then began to develop the first version of Butterfly Discovery,

which was originally called Build a Butterfly. This version incorporated many of the

elements I felt were integral to the game's learning goals. The game allowed users to

choose body parts (taken from real butterflies) from a selection of possible choices and

write about their final butterfly. It also gave information about butterfly body structure

and the species from which the selected body parts came. The overall idea for Build a

Butterfly (and Butterfly Discovery) was to enable participants to personalize the

information presented by allowing them to interact with the material and make choices to

create their unique final product. Through this, the learners could make the learning

experience their own, rather then a generic experience shared by all users (Falk and

Dierking, 2000).

While working on version 1, I had a large meeting with the Museum's exhibition

coordinators, OMT coordinators, the Director of the McGuire Center, and the McGuire

Center's photographers/ scientists, where we discussed ideas for the game as a group.

After this meeting it was decided I would meet with the individual departments on an as-

needed basis during the development process. This interaction was integral to the

creation of Butterfly Discovery, especially as the game became more complex.























Figure 2: Version 2- Body Stage Figure 3: Version 2- My Butterfly Stage




Before making changes from version 1 to version 2, I had a very important

meeting with Dr. Craig Roland, the education specialist on my thesis committee. After

much discussion, I decided to change the name of the game from Build a Butterfly to

Butterfly Discovery, in part to recognize that the game was not just about making a

butterfly, but also about butterfly diversity and discovery. I also decided that the screen

in version 1 was too crowded. Because there was so much information in such a small

area, learners were unable to focus on one portion of the game at a time. It was at this

point I decided to make the game several screens that could be navigated by the user.

Each screen would focus on one main idea, and would be intentionally kept short and

easy to read, usually with less then 50 words per screen (Serrell, 1996). This helped keep

the attention of the audience and met the educational needs and reading skills of 7-12

year olds. Because version 2 was several screens long, I decided to put users in control

of their learning by layering information through the stages of the game. This way

learners can self-select the complexity and depth of information they need and desire at

that time (Falk and Dierking, 2000).


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Because of the increased complexity of version 2, I met with Dr. Thomas Emmel,

Director of the McGuire Center, in order to gain ideas on additional information to

include in the game, concepts to include on the "My Butterfly" screen, additional

pictures, and resources to research the butterflies we were including as choices. I also

met with my thesis committee for a review of the game and advice on how to improve it.

At this time we determined that the game would benefit from evaluation. I was referred

to Dr. Betty Dunckel, the Associate Director for Education at the Florida Museum of

Natural History. Dr. Dunckel assisted me in developing an Institutional Review Board

application and determining the best method for evaluating Butterfly Discovery. Dr.

Dunckel also introduced the idea of having the educational text presented automatically

when the user enters a screen. I had originally had this information included as a rollover

users could choose to read or ignore. We believed that by making the information

automatic, more users would read and process it.








Butterfly
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discover your own

Start
SbuStterflyv




Figure 4: Version 3- Splash Page (animated)










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Figure 5: Version 3- Body Stage Figure 6: Version 3- My Butterfly Stage





Version 3 (the final version) of Butterfly Discovery built upon the changes made


in version 2. A meeting with my thesis committee, during which we reviewed the game


thus far and discussed new ideas, convinced me to add an animated splash page to pique


children's interest. In addition, I decided to cut down the introduction text from version 2


and spread it out over two pages in order to enhance readability. Also, the instructions


from version 2 were taken out and a help button was added to each screen. Furthermore,


the vocabulary words were changed to rollover definitions rather then requiring users to


go to a separate page for definitions. Finally, the "About Your Butterfly" stage was


changed to make the described species display their information as rollovers, rather then


buttons that attach movies that must then be closed. This decreased the number of times


children must click during the game and makes navigation easier.


After meeting with my thesis committee, I also met with Ms. Jamie Creola, the


McGuire Center Educator. Ms. Creola and I made two significant changes to the game.


First, the game's navigation was changed. New navigational tools were developed that


point out and describe the next stage of the game. These directional tools appear after the


Bodies
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user has made a choice on the current stage. This helps children orient themselves in the

game. Also, the "My Butterfly" screen was cut from five writing areas to three and now

includes writing prompts to help children write about their butterfly.

In addition to the previous meetings, I also continued to evaluate Butterfly

Discovery and to read educational technology literature. Because of this, the game was

also changed. Originally each screen presented the informational text on the right and

choices on the left when the user entered to screen. Now only the informational text

appears when the user enters the screen. This helps focus the user's attention to the

informational text. The choices appear after a button is clicked to remove the

informational text. This button, which was also in version 2, was enhanced with an

image and border to make it more noticeable. Finally, five additional webpages were

linked to the game: butterfly facts, vocab, activities, resources, and credits.














A JUSTIFICATION FOR INCORPORATING INTERACTIVITY

IN EDUCATIONAL WEBSITES



Defining Interactivity on the Web

Before creating an interactive web-based learning environment, one must

carefully examine the concept of interactivity. This was extremely important to me as I

began my thesis project. I found that many people use the words "interactivity" and

"interactive" in a variety of contexts to mean a number of different things, but that it was

necessary to determine a meaning for interactivity that would guide my project before

any code was written.

For the purposes of this web-based learning environment, the term "interactivity"

describes the communication and interrelation between two things, usually between a

user and a computer running a software program (interface). The user and interface have

a "conversation", where the user responds to the interface, which processes the inputted

information, which responds to the user, who processes the presented information, and so

on in a circular fashion. A simple incorporation of interactivity in web-based learning

environments allows the user to make menu selections and click on objects in order to

navigate the site (Chou, 2003). During the dawn of the internet, interactivity was limited

to just that. New technology and research, however, have enabled programmers and

educators to increase the levels of interactivity incorporated into web-based learning







environments, and therefore increase the learning potential for internet learners using

these sites. Basic interactivity (clicking on objects and menus) can now used to set the

stage for more complex educational interactions, which require higher degrees of

communication and provide opportunities for enhanced thinking and learning, such as

those in web-based learning environments (Chou, 2003). Therefore, a more exacting

definition of "interactivity" focuses on the quality of thinking and learning taking place

between the user and their established schema in addition to the technical frameworks

that support this mental interaction.




Educational Theory and its Influence on Butterfly Discovery



Educational theory, including research by John Dewey, Jean Piaget, and Lev

Vygotsky, emphasizes the importance of experiences that challenge and stimulate a

learner as necessary in promoting learning and knowledge. Commonly known as

constructivism, this theory asserts that learning "is not a simple addition of items into

some sort of mental data bank but a transformation of schemas in which the learner plays

an active role and which involves making sense out of a range of phenomena" (Hein,

1998). Interactive educational websites follow a constructivist approach in that they

enable learners to make choices and facilitate an internal dialogue of reflective thought

between the learner and the material presented. This leads to either the accommodation

of existing schema (the organizational network of concepts in the mind) to fit the new

knowledge being learned or the creation of new schema.








While constructivist activities can be both planned and natural experiences (Ohl,

2001), interactive web-based learning environments must be designed to follow

constructivist theory. They should have many entry and exit points, require the learner to

be physically and mentally active, and allow for multiple outcomes that need only "make

sense within the constructed reality of the learner" (Hein, 1998). Overall they provide

learners the ability to actively constructing their own knowledge. Often constructivist

activities, especially those considered discovery learning, allow learner to explore the

material in an order that is chosen by them, including viewing objects or information over

and going back to previous components. These activities will have a set path only if this

facilitates learning by providing guidance (Hein, 1998).

Constructivist theory greatly influenced the design of Butterfly Discovery. While

doing initial research for the game, I was struck by the number of websites about

Lepidoptera that were designed for children, but were simply endless pages of text.

Although these websites were great sources for reference, they did not challenge or

stimulate the learner and did not require the learner to be active in the learning process.

Following constructivist theory, I felt it was important to make learners physically and

mentally active in the learning process and chose to incorporate interactivity into the

game in order to achieve this. Butterfly Discovery was therefore designed to guide

learners to the completed production yet still allow them to explore the material in a self-

selected order. In this way, learners actively engage with the material in the game, read

information, and make choices. Along the way they use the knowledge they are

discovering to create a final production (the finished butterfly). The idea that there would

be multiple outcomes to the game that only made "sense within the constructed reality of








the learner" (Hein, 1998) was very important because the final product of the game was

not a real butterfly, but instead a product constructed by the learner during the learning

process.

Butterfly Discovery was also influenced by cognitivism. Cognitivists believe that

people learn material by actively processing information to create a network of

relationships between the new information and long-term prior knowledge (Deubel,

2003). Butterfly Discovery was designed to help increase the quality of information

processing by museum visitors through its use as either a pre- or post-visit resource. As a

pre-visit resource, Butterfly Discovery acts as an advance organizer that can be used

before a museum visit to help activate the prior knowledge of the learner. The game also

enables learners to discover new knowledge about Lepidoptera. In this way, Butterfly

Discovery increases the familiarity and meaningfulness of the museum visit and helps

learners make sense of the information they discover there. As a post-visit activity,

Butterfly Discovery can reinforce the knowledge gained from a museum visit (now

considered prior knowledge), in order to increase learning from the museum. The game

can also be used as an educational activity for classes that are unable to visit the museum,

helping children create networks of knowledge about Lepidoptera from the information

discovered in the game and other information learned in class.

Incorporating interactivity into web-based learning environments can increase the

quality of processing of new information leading to enhanced understanding. Research

has shown that interactivity can increase performance in learners by enabling them to

referentially process information. In referential processing, information is processed

though more then one channel, usually through both verbal and non-verbal channels.







Butterfly Discovery facilitates referential processing through both verbal (through the use

of text) and non-verbal (through the use of images) channels. Because information

processed referentially is stored in separate areas of the brain (both verbal and visual),

learners create a greater number of cognitive paths to the information, which enables

them to later retrieve it more easily (Najjar, 1996). In this way, interactivity allows

learners to have greater access to stored information and this, in turn, increases the

game's benefit as a pre-visit tool because visitors can more easily retrieve the information

they processed from the game and use it to create new associations in the McGuire

Center gallery.

Butterfly Discovery was also influenced by the theory of flow. Educational

technology and free-choice literature frequently refer to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's

theory of flow and its effect on motivation and learning. A flow experience can be

described as an optimal experience that is intrinsically enjoyable. During flow

experiences, learners lose their self-consciousness and have an altered sense of time; their

attention is completely focused on a limited stimulus field. Flow experiences have been

shown to promote exploratory behavior and give learners a perceived sense of control

over their interactions (Falk and Dierking, 2000; King, 2003). Flow experiences have

also been shown to increase motivation. This is important because many educational

theorists believe motivation plays a key role in the creation of knowledge and learning.

Learners who view their learning as worthwhile and have intrinsic feelings of success

work harder and generally achieve greater understanding (Deubel, 2003; Ohl, 2001).

Because flow experiences are intrinsically enjoyable, learners are more likely to complete

the activity, to return later, and to follow up their interest in other ways (Durbin, 2003).








It is important to note that the conditions necessary for an individual to experience

flow differ from person to person. For example, some people are able to experience flow

while reading a book, while others experience flow watching a movie. Overall, however,

research has shown that educational activities provide opportunities for flow when they

have a clear goal with many entry points that allow learners to be challenged at a variety

of different skill levels and to self-select the level that meets their needs. It is also

important that the learner's skills just match the educational challenge and that feedback

is immediate and appropriate (King, 2003). Interactivity can be incorporated into web-

based educational environments to meet the described conditions.

Research into the theory of flow and my own educational flow experiences

impressed upon me the importance of creating an environment designed to facilitate flow

experiences and therefore increase learning potential. With this in mind, all three

versions of the game were designed with clear educational goals and give the user

immediate feedback after they make a selection. In addition, versions two and three have

many entry points and paths through the game (compared to version one that had one

designated path). Also, users can self-select whether to read the informational text that is

presented automatically on each page depending on their skills, needs, and interests.

Because they have choice and control, the learner's skills will match the challenge.

Finally, by incorporating interactivity into educational websites, developers can

create an environment that reduces a learner's fear of public failure. Learners are more

willing to be creative and try various solutions because they know they are not being

watched or judged by others. "If users engage in a simulation one-on-one, fear of making








mistakes and having others know about them is eliminated because only the computer

knows how the simulation is going" (Deubel, 2003).



Interactive Frameworks

In order for complex educational interactions to occur in web-based learning

environments, learners must actively study and analyze information, build hypotheses,

and solve problems. Through this, learners are able to combine the knowledge gained

from the web-based learning environment with their prior knowledge and previous

experiences to form a cohesive understanding of the subject matter (Deubel, 2003).

Many authors (Chou, 2003; Schaller & Allison-Bunnell, 2003; Ohl, 2001) have studied

the use of interactivity to promote learning and have concluded that an ideal web-based

learning environment should incorporate four interactive dimensions: bi-directional

communication, user choice, playfulness, and feedback. "Using interactivity (where

visitors have the power to influence outcome) and participation (where visitors can feel

involved) can broaden the base of people who feel that the website has something for

them that fits in with their own needs and learning styles" (Durbin, 2003).

Bi-directional communication channels enable a two-way communication

between two people to occur. This social interaction helps learners construct knowledge

by allowing them to ask and receive answers to their questions. Bi-directional

communication channels could include the incorporation of streaming video, chat rooms,

listservs, surveys, or simply the inclusion of the webmaster's email address for comments

with a response by the webmaster (Chou, 2003). While bi-directional communication

channels would ideally be integrated into all web-based learning environments, they are








often not feasible for museums because they are too labor and time intensive. In

addition, bi-lateral communication on the web poses many privacy and inappropriate

communication concerns when dealing with children and young-adults. Because of this,

museums should attempt to simulate two-way, person-to-person communication by using

narrative devices in the plot or story, visual and interface design (this could include the

use of characters that appear to "talk" to the user or a system where users are able to

compare their answers with those of others, including experts), and creating an

appropriate underlying information architecture (Schaller & Allison-Bunnell, 2003).

Web-based learning environments should also incorporate user choice, allowing

for alternatives in color, speed, language and other non-informational choices, as well as

a number of subject-oriented options. The learner should be offered opportunities to

make productive, influential decisions in the learning process. This "means going

beyond offering menus of choices to select from, and involves providing an infrastructure

for helping the users to construct their own chain of inference and meaning" (Schaller &

Allison-Bunnell, 2003). Environments should be designed to allow learners to

experience the consequences of their decisions immediately. Finally, information should

be accessible in a non-sequential, non-linear way. Users should be able to enter the site

at a variety of points and have the opportunity to choose their own direction through the

information once in the site (Chou, 2003).

In addition, an aspect of playfulness should be incorporated into web-based

learning environments, especially those intended for children. This includes integrating

curiosity-arousing devices such as games, jokes, and hands-on activities (Chou, 2003).

Rather then simply reading endless pages of informational text, users should be offered








something in which to participate. By manipulating objects and ideas, users construct

their own knowledge and create strong mental connections. Allison-Bunnell & Schaller

(2003) described four playful interactions that facilitate learning and can be incorporated

into web-based learning environments.

Role-play: learners become someone different from himself or herself and do

something they normally couldn't do (i.e. break natural or societal laws, visit

past or future places, meet different types of people, etc).

Simulation: learners manipulate a model of the real world to explore a

system or concept

Puzzle/Mystery: learners analyze evidence to determine a logical solution

Creative Play/ Production: users create something original (a picture, story,

etc) based on the concepts learned along the way. The Butterfly Discovery

game is an example of creative play/ production.



Finally, web-based learning environments should provide immediate, appropriate

feedback to the user (Ohl, 2001). Feedback is the information presented to the user after

the user inputs a choice into the environment. Feedback can then be described as

"occurring when a learner actively adapts to information being presented by a form of

technology, which in turn adapts to the learner" (Chou, 2003). Interactivity is addressed

in two ways: in terms of the communication between the user and the content, during

which the user is analyzing the information and making choices; and the user and the

interface, when the user is presented with information and then inputs a choice into the








environment. The interface then "reads" this choice and responds accordingly to the

user, beginning the cycle anew.



Interactive Frameworks Appropriate for an Educational Museum Website and
their use in Butterfly Discovery


Interactive Framework


Bi-directional
communication


User choice


I


___________________________________________________________________________ I


Comments


* A two-way "conversation"
* Frequently not feasible due to time, labor, or privacy
constraints
* Can be simulated in the environment's design


* Not used in the Butterfly Discovery game
* Not necessary for the game's educational goals
* Could be incorporated into the website, however, this
was not done because of the difficulty in continuing
the communication
* Privacy concerns for intended age range


* Users should have many options for both
informational and non-informational choices
* Should include many modalities of information
* Subject-oriented choices should allow users to
construct their own meaning and should allow
information to be accessed in a non-linear, non-
sequential way
* There should be immediate consequences for all
subject-oriented choices

* In Butterfly Discovery, user is able to control the speed
of their progress through the stages (non-
informational)
* Game is accessible in a non-sequential, non-linear way
because the user must choose where to go next
o Evaluation showed that while most children used
the game in the intended sequence, some did the
stages in other orders
* Users are able to choose the depth of knowledge they
wish to gain by choosing to read or ignore the
informational text


I








Playfulness


Feedback


* Gives users something to do rather then see, arouses
curiosity and entertains
* Many types available:
o Games
o Jokes
o Role play
o Simulation
o Puzzle/ mystery
o Creative play/ production
o Question and answer

Used in Butterfly Discovery to arouse children's
curiosity
* Game is participatory and hands-on, allowing users to
construct their own knowledge and create strong
connections
* Creative play/ production was chosen because research
has shown children prefer it and teachers often use it
as assignments


* Presented after the user makes a choice
* Users should be able to experience the consequences
of their decisions immediately

Butterfly Discovery allows users to experience the
consequences of their decisions immediately.
Feedback is the visual image presented after a choice


(Chou, 2003; Schaller & Allison-Bunnell, 2003; Ohl, 2001)


I








Creative Play/ Production

A survey by Schaller and Allison-Bunnell (2002) found that children prefer

creative play/ production and role-playing activities to simulation and puzzle/mystery

(described on page 20). Creative play/ production (like the Butterfly Discovery game)

consists of drawing a picture, writing a story, making a movie, etc. It allows the user to

"create something original based on the things you learn along the way" (Schaller and

Allison-Bunnell, 2002). Creative play/ production helps develop skills (especially

observation and decision-making), and is exploratory in nature, allowing for personal

choice and interaction. In addition, creative play inspires interest, curiosity, awe and

wonder, and helps learners associate curiosity and learning with enjoyable experiences.

Studies show that users often complete creative production activities in web-based

learning environments, rather then simply abandoning them (Schaller and Allison-

Bunnell, 2002).

Children often need to be motivated to learn. Research has shown that children

respond favorably to goal-based environments that offer an extrinsic purpose and allow

for interaction and choice. A goal-based environment is a structured learning program

whose goals (and extrinsic motivators) stem from the activity itself (solve a crime, create

an artwork, etc) and reinforce the learning goal of the activity. "They create an

environment for both doing and thinking" (Schaller and Allison-Bunnell, 2002). For the

Butterfly Discovery game, the extrinsic purpose is the creation of a unique butterfly that

children can write about and print out. "Creative play (and constructivism) support user-

created outcomes that allow more personal choice and involvement...and permit learners

to create their own outcomes" (Schaller and Allison-Bunnell, 2002).














EVALUATION


Formative Evaluation

Formative evaluation for Butterfly Discovery occurred on an informal basis with

my peers and colleagues. Frequently I asked peers to play the game and observed their

interactions with it. After completing the game, I asked players to discuss ideas or

difficulties they had with the game. I also met with Dr. Betty Dunckel and Ms. Jamie

Creola from the Florida Museum of Natural History to gain professional museum

educators' perspectives on the game and constructive criticism on ways to improve it.

Changes to the game from these meetings are described on pages 7-11.



Summative Evaluation for Remediation Purposes

In order to determine any final changes that needed to be made to version 3, I

performed one day of summative evaluation for remediation purposes at the Florida

Museum of Natural History. Eleven subjects, ages 7-12, were asked to play the Butterfly

Discovery game. Before they began, they were asked the two questions listed under

"Pre-test" (see Appendix 1, page 30). As they played the game, I noted how they

interacted with the game and with their parents (if applicable). I paid particular attention

to how they used the navigation tools, whether the appeared to read the informational

text, and whether they appeared to have difficulties. After the participants completed the

game, I asked them a series of questions about any difficulties they had while playing the








game, what they did and did not enjoy, what they learned, and how I could improve the

game. I used the participants' answers, especially those concerning what the participants

felt they had learned, and the notes I took during the evaluation to verify that Butterfly

Discovery was meeting its educational goals. Although I determined that most of the

learning goals were being met, I discovered from this evaluation that there were some

issues that still needed to be resolved. I developed a list of concerns that needed to be

addressed before the game would be considered finished.


* Reading level might be too high for 7-8 year olds

* Make less text, make text bigger if possible

* Make yellow text boxes into buttons

* Change word "continue" to something else

* Make sure butterfly is part of button on bodies, patterns, wings, etc

* Put instructions on "About Your Butterfly" page

* Put in HELP screens

* Make it clearer to press button to "choose wings, etc", make button stand out

more

* Many participants stopped reading once they started making the butterfly, make

text more interesting, reduce amount of text, etc

* Put word camouflage on "My Butterfly" writing prompt, some children wanted to

use camouflage to describe how their butterfly defends itself, but didn't know

how to spell it








*Change interview questions

o Change rating scale,

o Make less open ended questions

o Make a checklist of things they did (rolled over, appeared to read text,

wrote about butterflies, used prompts, etc)



After this evaluation, I fixed many of the problems children had and added help

screens to make the game more clear. Following these changes, I felt that Butterfly

Discovery was complete. Interestingly, after completing this evaluation I began to

rethink the evaluation process and how I would complete the final summative evaluation.

I felt that watching the participants play the game resulted in good data, but that some of

the questions I used in the evaluation were either useless (9 out of 11 participants said

they had no problems playing the game although at times it appeared that some did have

difficulties) or too difficult to analyze due to the disparity in answers (especially for

"what do you think the main idea of the game is?"). Because of this I decided to reformat

the worksheet I used to evaluate study participants (see Appendix 2, page 31). The new

worksheet was changed in three ways. First, the new worksheet includes a checklist of

items, which will be checked off if the subject does the action (such as look at vocab, roll

over butterflies, etc). Also, closed questions were added in place of many open-ended

questions for the purpose of standardizing answers. The choices for these questions

were taken from the answers given during this evaluation. Finally, the rating scale was

changed from 1-4 to none- a little- a lot. This seemed much easier for children to

understand.








Final Summative Evaluation

The final summative evaluation took place on three weekend days in May at the

Florida Museum of Natural History. Weekends were chosen because school was still in

session and children in the target age range would be absent from the museum's visitors

during the week. A total of 38 eligible subjects were approached. Subjects were

considered eligible if they were in the target age range (7-12) and had at least one parent

or guardian available to sign the Institutional Review Board permission form. Five

subjects declined to participate. 33 subjects participated in the evaluation. The final

summative evaluation was used to determine if Butterfly Discovery succeeded in meeting

its intended learning goals. No changes were made to the game following the final

summative evaluation.

Once again the evaluation consisted of the participants playing the game. Before

they began, they were asked the two questions listed under "Pre-test" (see Appendix 2,

page 31). As they played, I used the checklist under "During the Game" on the

evaluation worksheet to note what components the participant chose to use or do. I also

noted whether they asked for advice from their parents. After the participants completed

the game, I asked them a series of questions about the game. The data resulting from this

evaluation can be found in Appendix 3, page 32.



Conclusions

The data collected during the final summative evaluation leads me to the

conclusion that the Butterfly Discovery game is effective in reaching its intended

educational goals in its target audience. Butterfly Discovery:








1. Stimulated the children's interest in Lepidoptera and science in general,

2. Introduced children to biodiversity in Lepidoptera,

3. Introduced children to Lepidoptera body structure,

4. Increased children's writing skills,

5. Allowed children to creatively play, and

6. Stimulated interest in the Florida Museum of Natural History's Butterfly

Rainforest.



One hundred percent of the participants created a butterfly and 79% wrote about

it. Eighty eight percent of participants appeared to read the writing prompts on the "My

Butterfly" section, even though some then chose to not write about their butterfly. Not

surprisingly, an overwhelming majority preferred creating the butterfly to writing about it

(82% : 12%). Many children enthusiastically said the game was fun. Seventy nine

percent of participants said they now know more about butterflies then they did before

playing the game. Although learning about butterfly parts, learning about diversity, and

having fun were ranked very high on the "What was the point of the game" question, the

highest ranked answer was to be creative (91%). When asked what the most interesting

thing they learned from the game was, 36% said something about butterfly diversity.

Finally, all participants want to go to the butterfly center when it opens, 82% want to go

"a lot".



Areas of consideration: I was slightly surprised to find that the number of

participants that read the informational text dropped sharply after they made their first








choice (intro text was 91%, body was 82%, wing and pattern were 52%, about your

butterfly was 58%). Also, while 73% of participants rolled over the butterfly specimen

on the "About your butterfly" section, with most (63% of that) rolling over all three, only

45% appeared to read the information presented on these rollovers. In addition, few

children were inclined to change their mind and choose more then one body, wing shape,

or pattern. Finally, I believe the targeted age range for this game should actually be 9-12,

since many 7-8 year olds had difficulties with reading and navigation.














APPENDIX 1


Interview Questions- Version 1

Age of participant:

Use the reverse side to note the interactions between the child and the game and any
difficulties they discussed during their participation.


Pre-test
1. Are you interested in butterflies? Rate 1 2 3 4

2. How much do you know about butterflies? Rate 1 2 3 4


Post-test
3. Did you have any problems playing the game?

4. What was your favorite part of the game? Why?

5. What was your least favorite part of the game? Why?

6. What do you think the main idea of the game is?

7. What was the most interesting information you learned from the game?

8. What information is new to you?

9. How can I improve the game?

10. Has the game made you more interested in butterflies? Rate 1 2 3 4

11. How much do you know about butterflies? Rate 1 2 3 4

12. Do you want to go to the butterfly center when it opens? Rate 1 2 3 4













APPENDIX 2


Interview Questions- Version 2

Age of participant:

Pre-test
1. How interested are you in butterflies?

2. How much do you know about butterflies?

During game (appeared to read)

Rolled over vocab Chc
Read intro information Rea
SRead body information Rol
SChose more then 1 body Rea
SRead wing shape information Rea
SChose more then 1 wing shape Wri
SRead pattern information Suc

Post-test


3.

4.

5.


Not at all

Nothing


A little

A little


A lot

A lot


)se more then 1 pattern
Ld about your butterfly information
led over butterflies 1 2 3
id the butterfly information on rollovers
Id the prompts on my butterfly
ote about their butterfly
cessfully built a butterfly


What was your favorite part of the game? Why?

What was the hardest part (or what part didn't you like) of the game? Why?

What was the point of the game? (can choose more then 1)
To learn about butterfly parts (bodies, wings, etc)
To learn about the diversity (variety) of butterflies
To have fun
To be creative
To make you like butterflies more
Other:

What was the most interesting thing you learned from the game?

Has the game made you more interested in butterflies? No A little A lI

Do you know more about butterflies after playing the game? Yes N

Do you want to go to the butterfly center when it opens? No A little A l


ot


o
ot













APPENDIX 3


Final Summative Evaluation Data

Ages of participants

(7)5
(8) 10
(9)8
(10)4
(11)3
(12)3

AVERAGE: 8.969 = 9


Pre-test
1. How interested are you in butterflies?


Not at all
1=3%


A little
16 = 48.5%


A lot
16 = 48.5%


2. How much do you know about butterflies? Nothing
6=18%


During game
10 = 30%
30 = 91%
27 = 82%
2=6%
17 = 52%
7 = 21%
17 = 52%
10 = 30%
19 = 58%
24 = 73%

15 = 45%
29 = 88%
26 = 79%
33 = 100%


A little


A lot


26 = 79% 1 = 3%


Used vocab rollovers
Read intro information
Read body information
Chose more then 1 body
Read wing shape information
Chose more then 1 wing shape
Read pattern information
Chose more then 1 pattern
Read "About your Butterfly" information
Rolled over butterflies
(1) 3 people (13%) (2) 6 people (25%) (3) 15 people (63%)
Read the butterfly information on rollovers
Read the prompts on my butterfly
Wrote about their butterfly (at least 1 answer)
Successfully built a butterfly







Post-test
1. What was your favorite part of the game? Why?

Making the butterfly: 27 = 82%
Choosing the wing: 2
Choosing the pattern: 8

"It's like making your own species"
"It was lots of fun"
"I like making new things"
"You can create anything you want"
"It's fun and you get to be creative. I like creating things"
"It let's you be creative and choose what you wanted to pick"

Writing about the butterfly (name): 4 = 12%
Finding out about their butterfly: 1 = 3%
Other: 1 = 3%


2. What was the hardest part (or what part didn't you like) of the game? Why?

Writing about it: 19 = 58% (5 didn't like, 14 said hardest part of game)
How it defends itself: 6
What its name is: 4
Where it lives: 2

"Writing about it, because it includes thinking"
Some said it was "hard to come up with an answer"

Reading: 5 = 15%
Deciding what to pick (on body parts): 4 = 12%
No answer: 3 = 9%
Liked all: 3 = 9%


3. What was the point of the game? (can choose more then 1)
** The answers were not the same for all kids, even though numbers were similar

29 = 88% To learn about butterfly parts (bodies, wings, etc)
29 = 88% To learn about the diversity (variety) of butterflies
28 = 85% To have fun
30 = 91% To be creative
17 = 52% To make you like butterflies more
13 = 39% Other:
7- To learn more about/ teach about butterflies
3- To make a butterfly








3- other


"So kids can have more fun in the museum"


4. What was the most interesting thing you learned from the game?

Variety/ diversity of butterflies: 12.= 36%

"There are many types of butterflies that are undiscovered"

Body parts: 4 = 12%
The info on the writing prompts: 3 = 9%
Where butterflies live: 3 = 9%
Didn't learn anything: 1 = 3%
Blank: 4 = 12%
Other answers: 6 = 18%

"There are types [of butterflies] that look like something you imagine"


5. Has the game made you more interested in butterflies?
No: 2 = 6% A little: 17 = 52% A lot: 14 = 42%

6. Do you know more about butterflies after playing the game?
Yes: 26 = 79% No: 7 =21%

7. Do you want to go to the butterfly center when it opens?
No: 0 A little: 6 = 18% A lot: 27 = 82%

8. Needed help/ talked with parent (some had more then 1 of following): 17 = 52%
Reading (little help with words): 3 = 9%
Reading (needed parent to read to them): 3 = 9%
Navigation: 9 = 27% (usually only on first page)
Spelling/ writing: 6 = 18%


Ages needing help:

(7)5
(8)7
(9)3
(10)1
(11) 1

AVERAGE AGE NEEDING HELP: 8.2














REFERENCE LIST


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I certify that I have read this document and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
project in lieu of thesis for the degree of Master of Arts.


SGlenn Willumson, Chair
Associate Professor of Art History


I certify that I have read this document and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
project in lieu of thesis for the degree of Master of Arts.


Craig Roland
Associate Professor of Art Education


I certify that I have read this document and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
project in lieu of thesis for the degree of Master of


Graig Shaak
Associate Director of the Flori a Museum of Natural History




This project in lieu of thesis was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of Fine
Arts and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master
of Arts.

August 2004


Marcia J. Issacson
Director, School of Art & Art History





Donald E. McGlothlin
Dean, College of Fine Arts









































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