multisensory learning

Topics: Environment, Prototype, Usability Pages: 12 (2438 words) Published: January 14, 2014
Human-Computer Interaction -- INTERACT'03
M. Rauterberg et al. (Eds.)
Published by IOS Press, (c) IFIP, 2003, pp. 896-899

Messages for Environmental Collaborative Monitoring:
The Development of a Multi-sensory Clipart
Maria João Silva1, Joana Hipólito2, Cristina Gouveia2
Escola Superior de Educação, Instituto Politécnico do Porto, Rua Dr Roberto Frias, 4200 Porto, Portugal


Instituto Geográfico Português, Rua Artilharia Um, 107, 1099 Lisboa, Portugal

2,, Abstract: This paper describes the development process of Senses@Clipart, a tool designed to support multisensory communication. Senses@Clipart is a library of images, non-spoken sounds and sensory textual descriptions that was developed to be integrated in an environmental monitoring collaborative website. It can be used as a case library to support environmental public participation, offering visual, aural and olfactory views of the environment and of its quality. Sounds, pictorial icons and text are used to annotate photographs in order to highlight objects or their absence. The development of Senses@Clipart has been supported by users’ participation both in content production and interface design. Keywords: multi-sensory data, public participation, environmental education, multimedia, clipart, user tests

1 Introduction
monitoring contributes to increase citizens’
involvement and awareness. An example of
voluntary monitoring initiatives is the National
Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count, which
monitors the status of birds’ population across the
Within voluntary data collection activities
colours, shapes, odours and flavours are used by
citizens as environmental quality indicators.
Although multiple senses are involved in the data
collection process, visual indicators prevail.
Accordingly, photographs are frequently used as a
way to register and communicate the environmental
problems observed.
Citizens need tools to explore multi-sensory data
allowing them to communicate their findings while
drawing other people’s attention for specific issues.
Furthermore, citizens need educational aids to
understand the data they have collected. This paper
describes the process of building a library of images,
and sensory descriptions, including non-spoken
sounds, to support public participation within

environmental monitoring. The development of the
Senses@Clipart has been supported by users’
participation both in content production and
interface design.

2 Multi-sensory Messages for
Environmental Participation
Human senses are widely used to evaluate
environmental quality within voluntary monitoring.
However, as environmental sensors, humans are
subjective and their accuracy varies according to
their individual characteristics (Molhave et al.,
1991). Additionally, the combined use of all human
senses to evaluate environmental quality requires
further research (Camara, 2002).
Multi-sensory approaches to the environment are
not traditionally promoted in occidental cultural
systems and scientific contexts (Foucault, 1981,
Hall, 1989; Schafer, 1994). Formal education plays a
major role in this context:
“It has been my experience that after
students have spent sixteen or more years in our
education system they have been so
brainwashed that it is impossible to get them to
go out and simply observe and report back what

they heard, what they felt, or what went on
before their eyes.” (Hall, 1989, p.39).
“The students became immediately intrigued
by these exercises in sensory awareness”
(Schafer, 1994, p.13).
Even in environmental education and
environmental sciences, that are increasingly
integrating multi-sensory approaches, it is difficult
to find educational materials to inform the complex
task of relating sensory data with environmental
quality. The lack of formal experiences and
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