Putting GeoConvos into Practice

By: Ilana Bruton | February 19, 2015

“Good morning. Ilana fill out your experience sampling form now (or as soon as you can).  Remember to take a picture of something in your field of vision and send it to me.” – Nate, November 18, 10:06 AM

Response 1
Response 1, 10:06 AM

I am someone who learns by doing. So when we decided to conduct our research into teens through embodied conversations, geo-spatial, multi-modal activities, I needed participation to understand it all.

I’m going to share my first GeoConvo.  Try not to let all the rhetoric discourage you because this was informative and actually a lot of fun!

We paired up.  Three UIC researchers with three museum educators. We selected a date: November 18 and some parameters: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM. We (prompters) would each contact our responders 6 times that day through text messaging.  They would reply with a photo of that very moment and fill out a form detailing their experience.

At 10:06 AM, I received my first prompt of the day.  I took a photo, grumbling while I filled out my survey because that was the morning that some of my colleagues referred to as transportation apocalypse –a fire along the brown line,  a plane hit a home near midway, and a bus fire on Lake Shore.  It was also bitter cold out and I was wearing tights because I had a fashion blogger event in the evening.

Throughout the day, I snapped photos when prompted and filled out surveys that focused on my level of engagement, mood, and importance of task in correlation with what I was doing at that exact moment.  Truth; I enjoyed sharing with my CHM colleagues why I was taking the picture or filling out a form during their meetings.

By the end of the day my promoter Nate, had received 6 of my moments captured in space and time, all while I was receiving my partner’s responses.

Response 4. 5:20PM, Simeko
Simeko’s Response 4, 5:20 PM

What did I learn?

Well I discovered a lot about my partner and responder Simeko –what she read, the food she ate, where she shopped, and what her home looked like.  I even saw Nate (my prompter) at one point when she was conferencing with him on her computer.

Imagine if these photos were coming from teens.  A day in the life of a teenager.  We could explore place and identity and begin to understand their level of engagement at those given moments.

It was month one of our grant and this was just one tool, one example of how we could use what we call “GeoConvos” to track pathways, to investigate how someone occupies their space and time, and to begin to look deeper into a community.

Click here for directions to guide you in trying this activity.

Check out photos from my 5 other responses throughout the day:

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