Building a Learning Audience
Building a Learning Audience
My Networked Learning Space site is intended to broadly interlink educators and students who use and design museum technologies so that they may gain ideas, resources, and connections for creating interactive exhibits and lobby displays. I will continue to encourage educators, designers, and students to collaborate using the platform I’ve created, so that they may exchange ideas and gain inspiration for new projects. People who use lobby display technologies will be able to give feedback using polls and comments about which projects interest them, how they’d like to see them modified, and how they could be improved in order to attract more visitors. I hope this becomes a fun platform for people and that this concept of a community around museum education expands beyond the realm of Google+ Communities. It could be that the ideas people gain while interacting with this community I’m building will have real impact on museums in Colorado and beyond.
I will continue to build a learning audience by developing digital resources to extend lessons beyond the physical museum exhibit. After a class field trip teachers might share activities they saw posted on my network that accompany museum exhibit lessons, for example. Teachers could then assign homework and print out worksheets posted and easily located by index/tag. I’ll eventually provide a modest platform for people designing a scavenger hunt type of app, in addition to my general platform that is intended for anyone interested in the topic of technology in museums. A scavenger hunt activity in a museum would increase the dwell time at exhibits, especially if small puzzles had to be completed before the learners could proceed to the next clue. These are some of the topics we’ll discuss in my community and I expect that if educators share materials from community with their friends and colleagues the learning audience will grow naturally over time.
Engaging the Learning Audience
In order to engage the learning audience I’ll need to post prompts and activities that make it worthwhile for people to spend time on the site. I will post leading questions connected to relevant media such as a podcast or an article in order to engage the learning audience in my space. I really liked your examples for leading questions including; "Has anyone tried this? Results?," "What modifications would you suggest to make this strategy work?" and "What alternative approaches for this have you tried and loved?.” I also agree that I need a call to action, an invitation so strong that people are compelled to respond and contribute.
One area I hope to engage my audience in discussion about is finding out how people design interactive hands-on exhibits integrating technology, and gain a sense of how they provide measurably longer lasting effects versus the typical stationary placards. “Dwell time” is the concept of how long visitors spend at a certain exhibit or display at a given museum. “Cognitive dwell time” is how long a learner stays engaged, the longer the better. Both types of dwell time are important topics of consideration when updating museum technologies. I plan to engage my learning audience using the idea of dwell time and push for answering the question of how to boost it.
The educational opportunity I see here is having informal discussions with learners that expand learning beyond the classroom and beyond museum exhibits. I believe that true learning happens independently and informally. Students are led in a direction but ultimately learn if they are having fun and truly want to seek answers to their questions. Another way I hope to engage my learning audience is through the reminder that museums are dynamic and exciting learning environments and only will get more so as technology advances. Sometimes if you share your passion of a topic, that passion naturally spreads to others. If teachers, designers, and students could all be engaged enough to communicate in my forum, I’d consider my goals to have been met.
Establishing Immediate and Ongoing Relevance
My target learning audience is anyone who is interested in interactive, informal education at museums, planetariums, and other science centers. I would like everyone to contribute their experiences with their favorite museum exhibits and displays, gaining a sense of what is immediately relevant to the audience. I want to gain a bit of statistical data from folks who visit this networked learning space on their general sentiment regarding certain exhibit design concepts using polls and surveys. My hope is that this platform will provide a place for museum curators and education professionals to exchange ideas about the newest technologies, so staying relevant should not be an issue. Additionally, I’ll establish immediate relevance by posting regularly about news, hot topics, breakthroughs in research, or anything else that might of significance that day. Immediate relevance might come from posts about things such as new museum openings. Posting about stimulating and interactive exhibit debuts might be of interest to the community.
Also essential is maintaining that relevance over time, by keeping our community growing and developing over time. Since technologies and public opinion changes quickly, the community should be growing at that same pace of change. Since children’s attention spans are those that you want to be most aware of when designing learning technologies, it would be advantageous to gain permission from the parents to ask what type of museum activities they prefer by using a brief survey. Looking towards future generations of leaders for guidance will allow our community to succeed in maintaining ongoing relevance.
Sustaining the Networked Learning Space
Since the instructional outcome I desire from this project is creating a diverse community of individuals who aim to integrate technology with aspects of museum learning, I expect that there will naturally be a variety of opinions on a given topic. The variation of opinions and backgrounds leads to sustained conversation and in turn, sustains the network. In order to sustain a networked learning space you have a clear focus and purpose so that your audience knows the benefits of being a part of it. The topics I have chosen for my boards so far are eLearning, STEM education, Planetarium Technologies, and Museum Education. I have already posted about interesting museums such as the Please Touch! Museum in Philadelphia, PA. And I already shared a bit about those museums which I’ve become inspired by. Places like The Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI), and Exploratorium in San Francisco, CA. I look forward to growing this networked learning space and seeing what it’s capable of achieving!