Featured Project: How Blueprint helped shift The Waterloo Wellington Children’s Groundwater Festival
Building a single source of truth for teachers, parents, and facilitators.
The Waterloo Wellington Children’s Groundwater Festival (WWCGF) is celebrating 23 years of educating elementary school students about the importance of water in their lives through multimedia exhibits and hands-on activities. Since 1986, WWCGF has welcomed almost 100,000 students from the local area.
For last year’s festival, UW Blueprint designed and developed a mobile event app to centralize important festival information such as activity updates, details, and location, as well as accelerate WWCGF’s environmental decision to reduce the use of paper at the event.
UW Blueprint recently sat down with Susan Reid and Corina McDonald from WWCGF’s Steering Commitee to hear about how UW Blueprint’s work has impacted the event, and how we can continue doing so.
Before each school group visits the festival, volunteers meet with teachers during pre-planning sessions to arrange activities and sessions for the day. However, in recent years, attendance at these sessions has dropped significantly, and as a result, teachers are less informed about the details of each session such as the appropriate age range, required materials, and even safety procedures. A lot of this information is given on loose-leaf paper, which is inconvenient, easy to lose, and also has a negative impact on the environment.
Teachers and volunteers are a big part of the students’ experience at WWCGF, and there wasn’t information readily available to help facilitate that.
In order to create a single source of truth, UW Blueprint members created a mobile app to consolidate the different elements of a visit to WWCGF. This included an information platform made up of an event map and activity list, as well as a way to send out important updates through the app as well as SMS.
“For parents and teachers, [UW Blueprint’s] app was the wayfinder” — Corina McDonald
Dynamic Event Map: Using the event map, teachers and volunteers are able to see and navigate the festival, as well as see the location of upcoming and past activities.
Activity List: The activity list, categorized by grade, is used by teachers and volunteers to better understand the contents, requirements, and learnings from each workshop.
Personalized Activity Schedule: Through adding and removing activities, teachers and volunteers can build a personalized schedule for their class, and better understand and plan for the day.
Frequently Asked Questions: With over 1500 visitors daily, volunteers may not be able to answer visitors’ questions as promptly as possible. By adding a FAQ page, visitors are able to look up answers to common questions such as the procedure for switching activities.
Alerts and Updates: During the festival, unplanned circumstances such as unpleasant weather or the cancellation of a workshop could occur. As the best way to inform teachers and volunteers, the mobile app platform is able to send both push notifications and SMS alerts to the user with any actions they might need to take.
UW Blueprint’s solution for WWCGF helped attendees get the info they need, when they needed it most.
The main goal of the festival is to educate people about local and global water issues. By keeping this mobile tool year after year, UW Blueprint is helping enable these groups to feel more prepared, create schedules in advance, and facilitate students’ learning in a more seamless manner.
WWCGF is currently working towards creating a positive environmental impact, not only through education, but also through the operations of the festival. UW Blueprint was able to align with them on this goal, and build out an app to not only help teachers, parents, and volunteers find their way through the festival, but also reduce the environmental cost of printing information physically.
“[UW] Blueprint is huge a part of helping WWCGF educate children about water. Developing this app that has helped so many attendees plan their trip, and has taken this worry out of our hands.” — Susan Reid
This year, WWCGF is holding their 24th annual festival and Waterloo Region Museum from May 24th to May 30th, and UW Blueprint is stoked to continue to support their goals and efforts through the application we developed. To learn more about WWCGF’s mission and details about the festival, visit http://www.wwcgf.com/