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Yellow Arrows in Learning

January 27th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

A quick blogsquat from Jenny Hughes….

I have been fascinated by the Yellow Arrow project and my mind is working overtime thinking of of ways it could be extended from art to education.

For those of you who have not come across it yet, the Yellow Arrow project is a global public art project that started in New York and is now an underground movement that has spread to over 450 cities in 35 countries.

Basically, you download a yellow arrow sticker from the project website and stick it somewhere public. If someone sees the sticker, they can text the code number on it to a particular telephone number and will immediately receive a text back with a message left by the person who put the sticker there.

So the yellow arrow basically means ‘there’s more here: a hidden detail, a funny story, a memory or a crazy experience.’ Each arrow links digital content to a specific location using the mobile phone.

If you want more info, just go to http://yellowarrow.net/v3/

The yellow arrow messages range from personal reflection to concrete information about, for example, the history of the building the arrow is stuck on. They sort of cross the divide between tourism and art.

Now I got interested in the idea during the Taccle training courses and tried out a variation on this using a commercial application, which was actually nothing to do with the Yellow Arrow project. (For details of this see, my previous post http://www.pontydysgu.org/2009/11/25-practical-ideas-for-using-mobile-phones-in-the-classroom/ ) I stumbled on the Yellow Arrow idea when I was browsing around for ideas on getting teachers to explore mobile technologies.

It seems to me that there are endless possibilities for developing ‘Yellow Arrow Learning. – The text messages could have an explicit learning content.

  • The arrows could be coded by subject area or topic.
  • Using a Google maps mash up you could design learning trails.
  • The telephone number to ring could be linked to our own server. So, for example, we could add urls to You Tube or Flickr
  • You could get whole communities involved – why not a local town (like Pontypridd) becoming a Yellow Arrow Learning Community?
  • Get all the schools involved as well as local industry. So a yellow arrow stuck on the brickworks could lead to a video of bricks being made.
  • Why not extend the public domain yellow arrows to the inside / private domain as well – yellow arrow work based learning?

The possibilities seem endless. The technology is simple. It might, in the future be upgraded to augmented reality applications or use QR instead of phone numbers – or both.

Graham and I are both interested in doing some work to progress some of these ideas and possibly putting in a funding application or working with someone else who wants to. It could be quite an edgy project if we can get a really creative team together. If any of you are interested and have some ideas, please get in touch.

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