Turners Falls Encoded: New QR Walking Tour
Turners Falls Encoded
Do you ever have questions about your surroundings while you wander through them? Once upon a time, books were the main way of finding answers to the things that we wondered as we wandered. Nowadays, technology has made it such that we can find answers almost immediately – and not just using internet searches! There are apps that can be used to identify plants and trees, search for signs of animals, and identify seasonal changes around us. However, there are fewer apps that can be used to teach us about the parts of our local surroundings that were created by humans. Often, we are left to ponder our questions about the buildings, the businesses, and the infrastructure around us on our own.
Turners Falls Encoded is a new community project that offers easy access to information about the Turners Falls community to anyone using a smart phone. Created by Hampshire College student RJ Sakai and Turners Falls RiverCulture, Turners Falls Encoded is a series of scannable quick response (QR) codes that connect visitors to videos and information about different aspects of the community and the people involved with them. Each code links to a different vignette narrated by community members, explaining what they do and why. Families can learn about everything from dinosaur tracks to recycled goods, and each informational page includes resources for further learning about the topic addressed in the video… The codes are posted throughout town, and are also available for families to print and distribute themselves. Families can download and print sets of QR codes to share on community bulletin boards, telephone poles, and other prominent (and creative) locations throughout town to encourage others to utilize technology to learn things about their community.
Turners Falls Encoded is a unique community project in that it offers information that would likely not be accessible otherwise. The videos introduce viewers to people and themes that they may otherwise never have learned about, but that are important to the community as whole. Families can use Turners Falls Encoded as a way to learn more about their surroundings – brainstorm what and who your community is made up of before scanning any of the codes, and see how your thoughts do or don’t match up with what you find. Doing an exercise like this can help families to not only learn more about their community, but it can help to highlight the fact that there are many different ways in which people experience the things around them.