The LED Lab Conducted a Professional Development Training on Thursday

Stephanie Benson, a recent ITLS graduate, and Chase Mortensen, a computer science undergraduate, taught educators how to use ARIS this past week for the LED Lab, directed by Dr. Breanne Litts. ARIS is an augmented reality program allowing anyone to create augmented reality games, stories, and apps (think Pokemon Go). Those attending the training were from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the Ogden Nature Center. At the training, these practitioners worked towards creating games via smart phone apps which will encourage their visitors to explore the beautiful areas they work at.

Stephanie Benson training at the Professional Development Event

Stephanie Benson training at the Professional Development Event

Stefanie Zwygart, one of the women from the Ogden Nature Center, explained their game. It is going to allow visitors to earn patches as the guests visit locations at the 10-acre plus center. “This was kind of a way to target those visitors and get them to utilize those parts of the property," she said.

Marni Lee and Nicaela Haig explained their game will be hosted by a digital Snowy Egret. This white bird in the game will teach visitors about waterfowl and lead them to places along the trail where the birds are most likely to be seen in reality. Their goal is to encourage visitors to explore a new Waterfowl Management Area under development in Farmington.

Marni and Nicaela learning at the event


Both Stefanie and Marni learned about ARIS and its potential at this year's USEE Conference (Utah Society for Environmental Education). Stephanie Benson presented at the conference on a project completed as an ITLS student as part of Dr. Litts’ research examine how kids learn computational thinking through making games in ARIS. The project utilized ARIS for environmental education here in Logan. 

Stephanie Benson presenting at the USEE Conference


In the Q&A, attendees from Ogden Nature Center and the Utah Division of Wildlife expressed a desire to learn more, and Dr. Litts responded with an invitation. This week's six-hour professional development training was the result.

Stephanie says the best thing about ARIS is anyone can learn to use it. "It's for non-programmers," she said. The environmental educators she trained this week had very little, if any, prior computer programming experience. 

Dr. Litts says,"The LED Lab is excited about sustaining partnerships with the Ogden Nature Center and Utah Division of Wildlife to further develop their ARIS projects and explore other integrations of technology in environmental education contexts."

a photo from the professional development training

a photo from the professional development training

a photo from the professional development training

a photo from the professional development training

a photo from the professional development training

a photo from the professional development training


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