GeoVate with Mission:Explore
Catch up with Mission:Explore with this update from Daniel Raven-Ellison:
12 days ago we released our new Mission:Explore website, since then we have watched as young and old(er) explorers have accepted, completed and then reported a wide range of missions. People have been photographing where the ‘wild’ is taking over from civilization, designing memorials and earning rewards for doing so. One explorer (Sir Spiffington) has already created his own website which includes a great animation and a funny film, all inspired by the new site.
Making the Mission:Explore website is a continual process. The funding that we won 5 months ago through GeoVation from Ideas in Transit and the Technology Strategy Board has allowed us to implement a number of significant features. These include:
- Partner accounts which let other organisations create their own challenges;
- Scoring and leaderboards, which will soon also include groups;
- An extras box on mission pages which includes QR codes that can be scanned for quick access to the relevant page along with a widget which can sit on other websites;
- Explorer profile pages so that users can keep track of started and completed missions, their points and keep an explorer log;
- A content management system for creating, risk checking, tagging, scoring and publishing missions;
- A split community with those not logged in and aged 12 or under not being able to see user generated content and missions which are rated for older users.
National Geographic Education are already using the site for their work in promoting geography awareness week. I presented on Mission:Explore for teachers supporting National Geographic in Portland in August and you can see the videos from this here . Love Forest, OPAL, Priory School, the Geographical Association and many others are currently live on Mission:Explore or soon will be.
The core of the GeoVation work is to see how Mission:Explore can be used to increase the number of family leisure users on the National Cycle Network. Crucially, we want them to come back too. We are working with Sustrans not only to create the challenges but also to monitor user numbers in the field. An additional component is a the work we are doing within the project for the dairy company Arla. Arla want to bring a wide range of children Closer to Nature and we are bringing all of this together by using Mission:Explore and the National Cycle Network to draw young people out of sub-urban areas an into ‘nature spaces’. Our first trial will take place in Berkshire next month and we will be using our findings from this work to decide our following steps.
Last week we were lucky enough to be invited by the Technology Strategy Board to have a stand at Innovate ’11, the innovation networking event and exhibition. This is an example of the one of the unexpected benefits of working with GeoVation that has been a great help to our work. Innovate ’11 is was an awesome event and one that I would recommend you attend in the future if you are interested in cutting-edge innovation and creativity. At Innovate much of the interest in Mission:Explore was for rebranding it so that organisations or regions could have their own bespoke versions.
We are now at a stage where we are looking for GeoVators to GeoVate with us. We have a limited number of free accounts on Mission:Explore which can be used by charities and public sector organisations to create games, hunts, trails, learning activities and more. If you or someone you know would be interested in this offer they should email us at email@example.com to find out more.
We will be blogging again next month with an update on our work to increase users of the National Cycle Network.
You can become an explorer on Mission:Explore for free by visiting www.missionexplore.net.
Mission:Explore, one of our GeoVation Challenge winners, have been busy planning missions to encourage children and families to use the National Cycle Network and lots of other exciting stuff too. Below, Daniel from Mission:Explore tells us more about it.
Things are moving along quickly here at Mission:Explore and we are very excited about the coming year. Winning the support of GeoVation, Ideas in Transit and the University of West England means a brand new Mission:Explore website with lots of beautiful and new functionality.
We won GeoVation funding to improve transport in Britain and specifically the National Cycle Network. Working closely with Sustrans and Arla we are creating challenges and activities that we call ‘missions’ along parts of the cycle network. When people discover these missions (online or through stickers in the landscape) they will be able to win points and earn badges. We will be experimenting to see how this kind of ‘gamification’ can create new uses and users of this important piece of infrastructure. We are very pleased to have Charles Musselwhite, a social psychologist from the University of West England, researching our work and helping us to make this project a success.
Unlike the current Mission:Explore, on the new platform users will have accounts, explorer blogs, leader boards and many other enhanced features.
Mission:Explore will be relaunched as www.MissionExplore.Net this September. We are delighted that National Geographic Education are using the platform to encourage another kind of behaviour change. The US based organisation are using MissionExplore.Net as their central campaigning tool for Geography Awareness Week . The site will be launching with 20 missions (take a look here ) which encourage children, teachers and families to explore their local communities and earn online Mapping, Storytelling, Photography and Take Action! badges. Taking place in November Geography Awareness Week aims to draw attention to the importance of ‘geo-literacy, ensuring that people make well reasoned decisions about our nation’s economic competitiveness, national security, environmental sustainability, and the livability of our communities in the 21st century’. We are recently back from the National Conference for Geographic Education in Portland (Oregon) where we trained Geography Awareness Week coordinators in making the best use of Mission:Explore.
Moving forward we will be announcing a new pricing plan in which third sector organisations can create and manage their own ‘channel’ and missions on MissionExplore.Net from just £25 for 1 mission. They can also purchase a ‘white label’ version of the platform for their own use. Any charity or public sector organisation that places an order before the launch of MissionExplore.Net in September will enjoy a 15% discount on any selected plan.
For further details contact Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org.