Jessica Rosenblatt, a Bangor native, recently helped create a new application for children designed to teach them about Israel and archaeology through play.
“Dig Quest: Israel” is a free educational app for iPhone and iPad users ages 7 to 11 that allows children to learn about the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Lod Mosaic. During the game, users piece together the scrolls to discover their meaning, and “dig” for the mosaic.
“We wanted this to be something where kids feel like they were the expert … that’s empowering,” Rosenblatt said.
She added that creators also wanted players to use their device as a tool. So during various part of the game, children are asked to brush off the mosaic pieces using their finger as a brush, or use a scan feature that emulates a scanner used by archaeologists.
“I love finding creative ways to make you feel like you’re physically engaging with things,” Rosenblatt said.
The project was funded by the Israel Antiquities Authority and Rosenblatt served as its lead designer helping with everything from concept development to production. It launches Thursday, Nov. 20.
Rosenblatt and others worked with a team of archaeologists and scholars to make sure the game was historically accurate and included a translation of excerpts from the Dead Sea Scrolls. However, it was also important to make sure the player was also enjoying him or herself.
“Even though we wanted this to be educational and about Israeli history, the primary goal is that this is fun to play, it’s engaging and you want to keep coming back to it,” Rosenblatt said.
After graduating from Bangor High School in 2000, Rosenblatt studied at Carleton College then received a masters degree in interactive media from the University of Southern California in 2007. She, her husband and their 17-month-old son now live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.