Human-Centered Educational Tools and the Humanitarian Project. The Case of Amirabilia

Lucia Binotti

Although research shows that location-based, experiential and immersive learning have a transformative impact when imagining the human-centered education of the future, few engaging educational media solutions and widely-adopted multimedia tools for learning and scholarship bridge the experiential gap between the walled classroom/campus and the world. And while the Digital, the Experimental and the Xtended-Humanities are in a process of disciplinary and methodological definition, little innovative research is shaping the adoption, in learning institutions and beyond, of novel learning techniques that combine knowledge and best practices from multiple disciplines to envision powerful and unique spaces of hybrid learning.

The product of a life-time research and pedagogical agenda that has evolved and taken shape in harmony with Human-centered Design insights and benefits, Amirabilia is the world’s first adventure-based learning platform for experiential education. Amirabilia combines geo-location, geo-triggered content, and narrative theory to create an interactive learning tool specifically designed to capture and disseminate knowledge outside of the classroom. The proliferation of multimedia storytelling platforms and apps validates the mind-opening opportunities that emerging technologies can provide in the domains of journalism, social impact, inspiration, and education. These technologies add to storytelling as an impactful educational scheme and prove that immersive, beautiful narrative works are now easier to produce than ever. In turn, the powerful and empowering force of narrative gets amplified when it cross-pollinates with GIS software, allowing us to rethink how we define our relationship to territory and communities and how we design models of experiential learning.

There is great potential for using Amirabilia to help with tracking and reporting based on sets of crowd sourced data. Thus, at present we are exploring the idea of Amirabilia as an on-the-ground tool for humanitarian workers including educators, healthcare providers, and administrators.  Amirabilia can be used to empower/educate people on location, and also as a way to report and inform remote stakeholders — for instance donors about how their funds are used to pay for humanitarian activity – as well as for validation, monitoring, status reporting, etc. of local programs and initiatives. Amirabilia can thus be used on sites such as refugee camps, migrant routes, or remote education facilities, or any place where the app can be add value in the hands of the beneficiaries of humanitarian funds/efforts. As such a tool, Amirabilia will:

  • Provide a real-time tracking and reporting tool for NGO’s and donors for remote sites such as refugee camps, education facilities or hospitals
  • Work by crowdsourced data from the refugees using the facilities, in the form of location-based feedback (e.g. confirmation that the service exists, any issues, how long something takes, data about the service)
  • Allow NGOs to react and respond to changes in the environment, or pinpoint issues or make improvements based on feedback
  • Give donors a transparent reporting system that is unbiased and can even provide an interactive walk through on location
  • Empower and educate the refugees or local people receiving the aid

This paper discusses the potential that human-centered, simple to build and simple to use tools like Amirabilia have to contribute to a more equitable development of the creative economies.