Zoos are important institutions of preserving the natural heritage of the Central Baltic region—protecting and preserving endangered species and at the same time increasing the environmental awareness. At the moment, the use of mobile technologies for learning by visitors of the zoos is very traditional, mainly providing static information. There is an active cooperation network between the zoos of the Central Baltic region, but at the moment it is limited mainly to exchanging animals and conducting joint research.
Therefore the main objective of the current project is to integrate the zoos of the Central Baltic region into a joint tourist attraction through developing and implementing a cross-border service package for creative adventure learning with mobile devices. It consists of a set of online game-based learning tools and related apps for mobile devices. The service package is innovative, because:
- the visitors of the zoos are not treated as passive learners, they participate in active knowledge creation through designing different gamified assignments e.g. memory puzzles, video/photo telling assignments, quizzes etc.
- these assignments can be then compiled into outdoor learning games and used for setting up the challenges to other visitors
- the visitors can arrange tournaments and competitions also with visitors of partner zoos in another country
- the achievements of the players will be awarded by Open Badges in all 3 zoos.
In the current project the service package will be designed, developed, piloted among 100 visitors of the zoos and jointly marketed by the three zoos of the Central Baltic region. In the dissemination phase the service package will be also introduced to other zoos of the region. The SmartZoo mobile learning service provides a reason for visitors to return to zoo several times a year and visit several zoos in one year. Thus, the SmartZoo enhances both the environmental awareness and economical growth of the Central Baltic region.