Enriching Archaeological Parks with Contextual Sounds and Mobile Technology
De Angeli A
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The importance of cultural heritage in forging a sense of identity is becoming increasingly evident. Information and communication technologies have a great potential to promote a greater awareness and appreciation of cultural heritage. This article presents some findings on how mobile technology can be used to foster a better understanding of an archaeological site by reconstructing the ancient environment and life. Children aged 11–13 years old are the target of our research. To motivate and engage them, a pervasive educational game has been developed and implemented in Explore!, a system aimed at supporting children exploring sites of cultural interest. Special attention has been devoted to the design of a soundscape that may improve players’ navigation in degraded physical environments and enrich their overall experience. A field study indicated that children judged their experience both useful and entertaining: not only did they enjoy playing the game, but they also learned historical notions and facts related to ancient Roman life. Contextual sounds were found to have a facilitating effect on space navigation, reducing the need for map reading and improving spatial orientation. This work provides insights into the design of educational games for use with cultural heritage and a model to enrich historical sites through the creation of soundscapes which can help visitors to navigate a site and feel its historical atmosphere.