Smithsonian’s NMAH ~ Educational Citizenship Website

Summary: Working in partnership with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History (NMAH) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Office, we developed an interactive, multimedia-rich website that supports aspiring citizens’ efforts to pass the civics portion of the new USCIS Citizenship Test.

Using content from the NMAH collections and working with a consultant that specializes in teaching English as a second language, we created a flexible, progressively scaffolded learning environment through which students move through learning, practice, and test stages commensurate with their mastery of the question topics. Given that the interactive experience should appeal to learners for whom English is a second language, and that the civics test is conducted as an oral interview, voiceover narration and closed-captions are provided, and learners have the opportunity to practice responding to the audio prompts.

The framework contains 100 vignettes, 19 activities, and 32 zoomable object explorations, that help extend learning beyond merely teaching to the 100 questions on the test. Instead, using objects and documents from its collections the NMAH offers aspiring citizens a vibrant look at our nation’s history, the functions of our government, the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens, and the power of democracy. By providing context to the questions on the test, prospective citizens can facilitate their learning of complex facts and concepts, and draw a deeper connection to the significance of becoming an American citizen.

Stats
100 Historical vignettes
51 Interactive activities
15 Topic areas
1 Daunting test demystified

Awards
AAM EdCom Award for Excellence, 2013
IMA Award Best in Class for Government, 2013
IMA Award Best in Class for Education, 2013

Tech: Illustrator, Flash, Actionscript, XML, Photoshop, HTML, CSS
Role: Lead Designer / Lead Flash Designer
Link: www.americanhistory.si.edu/citizenship

Smithsonian’s NMAI ~ Environmental Challenges Website

Summary: American Indian people have long thrived on, respected, and protected the environments that make up their homelands. Night Kitchen Interactive collaborated with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) to create an educational website for use in classrooms, to inform younger audiences about the ways in which American Indian communities continue these efforts today.

To fulfill student and teacher needs, the site presents a media-rich, scaffolded learning environment with progress tracking and assessment features. Students watch videos, explore interactive activities, and answer questions along the way to gain deeper insights to the integral role the environment plays in the daily lives of American Indian communities and draw connections to local environmental issues. The culminating classroom presentation activity allows students to collect notes taken across the site into one central web-based planner.

The site was designed and built to be visually inviting and reflective of the rich design traditions and unique voice of each tribal community featured therein. The visual and UX design was crafted to create a learning environment that supports the storytelling traditions that are central to communities featured within the project. Feedback from NMAI and Smithsonian has been glowing.

Tech: Illustrator, Flash, Actionscript, Photoshop, HTML, CSS
Role: Lead Designer / Lead Flash Designer
Link: www.nmai.si.edu/environment/

SFMOMA Country Dog Gentlemen ~ Mobile Website Conversion

Summary: In 2009, with some of the 20th century’s greatest artists as inspiration, Night Kitchen Interactive created an engaging kiosk installation and website, bringing to life the works of Piet Mondrian, Jackson Pollock, Frida Kahlo and others. Roy De Forest’s colorful work acted as an aesthetic springboard, paving the way for vivid, lively animations. Each animated story reflects an individual artist’s unique approach, creating different extraordinary worlds to be explored. Performance artist Sebastienne Mundheim collaborated with Night Kitchen to craft the voices of two colorful canine characters from Roy De Forest’s work. With the dogs as guides, modeling behaviors of inquiry, this journey through modern masterpieces is reflective, whimsical, and insightful.

These stories and activities excite and inform young museum visitors, inspiring them to contribute their own creative responses to the museum’s website. Targeting children aged 6-10, a rare audience for modern art, this interactive experience engages younger museum visitors and their families with playful narratives and interactive activities. Each reinforces key learning points associated with an individual work and encourages visitors to share their own creative responses in a visitor-contributed gallery on SFMOMA’s website.

In 2011, SFMOMA was interested in adapting the existing Country Dog Gentlemen animations into an HTML5 experience, so visitors with mobile devices that do not support Flash can still partake in the enhanced rich-media experience. We implemented the main menu utilizing “responsive web design” techniques promoted by many of today’s most advanced HTML5 and CSS gurus. We used @media CSS queries in combination with Max and Min device-widths to create a single menu page (and CSS) with break-points that serve up different layouts and different graphics depending on the size and orientation of your device! It was really fun and exciting to be part of bringing this new technique to life while working to improve the museum and online experience for SFMOMA’s younger audiences.

Tech: Illustrator, Photoshop
Role: Lead Designer / Technical Advisor
Link: In-Progress

CAPS – Promotional Video Edit

Summary: Create a promotional video for the Council for the Advancement of Public Schools (CAPS). This 3-5 minute video needed to illustrate all the positive public relations work that had been done in 2008 by the CAPS organization, while also engaging potential new supports to the cause of supporting our public schools. The biggest challenge with this project was the lack of video assets. Most of what was supplied were still photography and newspaper clippings. We did however have a previously edited broadcast quality commercial we made earlier in the year, and a small budget for voice-over talent. (Generously donated at a greatly reduced rate to help support the cause.) In the end, the video was very well received by the client, and we got some great feedback from them about its reception by their supporters. Everyone involved considered the project a success.

Tech: Final-Cut Pro, Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash
Role: Editor / Designer / Art Director
Link: See video below