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The premise of Storycaching is to combine the use of a GPS with an iPod where a user goes to a specific place using map coordinates, then listens to a podcast (audio on demand), usually a story, that takes into account the nature of the area where the listener is now located.
Like geocaching, a cache may be located at the site and can contain some relevant objects that add a physical dimension or symbolism to the cached story. Storycaching is designed to enhance the experience of both the storyteller and the listener. By allowing the storyteller to reference elements in the environment where the listener is located, the listener is provided a third dimension to the story, that of authentic physical feelings and sensory input. Storycaching is a concept created by Dr. Martin Horejsi at The University of Montana-Missoula.
For example, a girl walks to a distinctive place in order to listen to a story on her iPod. Using map coordinates and a GPS, she climbs part way up a hill on the edge of town. When arriving at a specific spot according to the GPS, she locates a small box containing some relics. Sitting on a rock, she holds the objects in her hand listens to a sound file on her iPod. Overlooking the valley, the power of the Native American elder’s words stir her emotions as landmarks, smells, the wind, and other sounds are referenced in the story, all possible because the person telling the story knows that the listener will be in a specific place while listening to the story. Or maybe, the story was recorded years ago when the elder sat in the very spot where the young girl now sits. A connection with the story is forged in a way never before experienced alone.
Another example is where a high school student studying earth science walks through a river drainage with his teacher. But his teacher is not with him in person. Instead his teacher collected the map coordinates of special geologic features, and now teaches the student as he uses his GPS to walk from place to place while listening to the teacher on his iPod, replaying the story several times at each stop ensuring complete understanding. The iPod’s screen shows color pictures of the geologic formations the student is to study. Comparing the words, pictures and the rocks in front of him, he is able to learn and apply the geology at his own pace, on his own time, and as many times as he wants. As an assignment, or if a question arises, the student notes the GPS coordinates, snaps a digital picture and jots some notes.
To access a Storycache, the user downloads the podcast from Storycaching.com . Each podcast has its GPS coordinates as its file name. The user enters the map coordinates as a waypoint into the GPS unit. Details on the website indicate what is involved in locating the specific coordinates (i.e. walking, driving, hiking, etc.) Once the person arrives at the place on the earth corresponding to the coordinates of the podcast, he or she locates the cache object