Introducing the "Bells of Peace" Smartphone App
By Theo Mayer
Chief Technologist, United States World War One Centennial Commission
There is a backstory.
When we started to develop the Bells of Peace National bell tolling initiative, we met and received advice from others, who also are or have created "bell tolling initiatives". In an early meeting, one of these sage supporters mentioned the challenges they faces due to the increasing scarcity of bells in America.
"Why don't we make an App with bells in it" one of the people at the meeting suggested. And here it is.
As we got into it, we realized that there was an opportunity for a lot more than simply bells. It occurred to us that the app would make a fantastic NEWS channel for the Centennial of The Armistice and so we built that in. That way we can send you information about ACE (Armistice Centennial Events), links to live streams we learn about, point you to resources and more.
We also know from working with the community for the past 5 years, that people want to share THEIR commemoration efforts with others - so we built in a sort of "special historic event social media channel". This is an experiment, but one that we think is worth trying. A national history event has never had it's own social media channel before. What that means is that anyone who has the app, can use their smartphone to create and post articles with still images and videos directly from the app - even if they don't have a social media account. The posts automatically come into a "dashboard" at the commission, where we can curate the content (we don't want inappropriate posts after all) and push it out to the app, and onto the upcoming commission web page that will shortly appear at ww1cc.org/armistice.
And for everyone who does have a social media account, whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Youtube, if you tag your post with #tollthebell, it will also come into our dashboard and we will add those posts to the national conversation.
Following are details about the app and what you get. We invite you to download it from the ITunes or Google Play app stores
What do you get with the Bells of Peace Participation App?
Under the home menu button
Well the first thing you get, whether you need bells or not, is a countdown timer counting down to the 11 hours of the 11day of the 11month. If you have anything to do with or on Veterans day... this is a must have by itself.
Under the Bell Button
The Main Bell Menu
This is your main bell tolling page. Here you can press the red button and manually toll your selected bell. This is the sound that will toll 21 times starting at 11am on 11/11 2018 if you have your app open before that hour.
You can turn this automatic tolling off and go completely manual by tapping on the automatic button (selected to automatic by default).
Below the red "Toll the Bell" button is the "Browse the Bells" link which takes you to a new section
Browse the Bell
On this swipe screen you can explore the various bells available. Click the "listen" link to audio them. When you find the bell you want to select, press the "Select this bell for tolling" button. It will go green and you have selected that sound. Click the bottom menu bell icon to return to the bell tolling page which will now display the new bell you selected. You can do this as often as you like.
Under the NEWS icon
We will be publishing news about the centennial commemoration of the WWI Armistice here. This is how we can provide you with useful information and links as we come up on the centennial and beyond. We will be posting about events, live stream links, information resources and other items we think will be of interest to you.
Click on the article image to get the full story. Click the "refresh" button on the top right to see if there are any new stories posted.
Under the camera "Share The Experience" button
We want you to be able to share your Armistice Centennial Event (ACE) preparation and commemoration with the nation. That is what this section is all about. Even without a social media account, you can post (curated) articles directly to all the app users and the National World War One Centennial Commission website. Click the post button and you will come to the New Post page. At the bottom select text, photo or video. You can use your phone's camera to shoot images or videos for you post, or select one you already shot from you library. Type the text you want to include and click the POST button. Your submission will go to a Commission monitored dashboard and all legitimate posts will get published to this feed.
The URL for the national website page with these feeds is at ww1cc.org/ (NOT YET SET - PLEASE CHECK AGAIN)
The Memorial / Donate button
Many people do not know that there is not National WWI Memorial in our nation's capital. Vietnam - Yes. Korea - Yes. WWII - Yes. WWI - No.
But we are building one. No tax dollars may be used. It must be build with private sector funds. If you already know about it, you can use the red button here to honor our nation's WWI veterans with a donation. And if you don't, please click the "Learn more" link on the top right of the screen.
Learn about the memorial
Swipe on the top panel to get a nice closeup of the planned sculpture by Sabin Howard of the memorial. Click on the video to play a 3D fly-through of the memorial site and see what will be there when it is completed. Read about it. To return to the previous page click the donate icon at the bottom.