Frequency 1550 is a mobile city game to bring the middle ages alive for pupils, within their history lessons.

The project was started as a research project in which we partnered with Waag Society, KPN, IVLOS (University of Utrecht) and ILO (University of Amsterdam). The first pilot was played in 2005. The theme of this mobile urban game was medieval Amsterdam. As part of their history lessons, pupils would take on a certain role and walk around in the city. They used their mobile phones to navigate and to answer questions or perform challenges.

As this first pilot was very successful, it was decided to work on the project again in 2006/2007 to improve the technique, interaction and educational concept. The upgraded game was then played in 2007 with 10 primary schools. Groups of pupils walked around in Amsterdam, navigating with their mobile phone, solving questions about the past with state of the art technology. Their objective was to score as many points as possible by performing location-based assignments, conquer city zones and gaining the ‘schout’s’ trust. But there was also location-based game-play: virtual bombs that could knock out teams temporarily, invisibility cloaks and virtual confrontations.

In 2008, this mobile history game received a Spin Award in the category best gaming concept. Since 2009, frequency 1550 is available to schools via Creative Learning Lab and the Mobile Learning Academy.

Learning effects

The University of Amsterdam and University of Utrecht researched at the same time the effects of gaming on learning. It turned out that kids participating in the mobile game had remembered the history lessons better than pupils who had learned the curriculum in a traditional way.

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