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The Ambient Horn: designing a novel audio-based learning experience

Cliff Randell, S Price, Y Rogers, E Harris and G Fitzpatrick, The Ambient Horn: designing a novel audio-based learning experience. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing , 8(3). ISSN 1617-4909 , pp. 144–161. June 2004. PDF, 282 Kbytes.

Abstract

The Ambient Horn is a novel handheld device designed to support children learning about habitat distributions and interdependencies in an outdoor woodland environment. The horn was designed to emit non-speech audio sounds representing ecological processes. Both symbolic and arbitrary mappings were used to represent the processes. The sounds are triggered in response to the childrens location in certain parts of the woodland. A main objective was to provoke children into interpreting and reflecting upon the significance of the sounds in the context in which they occur. Our study of the horn being used showed the sounds to be provocative, generating much discussion about what they signified in relation to what the children saw in the woodland. In addition, the children appropriated the horn in creative ways, trying to scoop up new sounds as they walked in different parts of the woodland.

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