Interactive Learning in Museums and Science Centers
Overview and Objective
My Networked Learning Space (NLS) site is intended to broadly interlink educators who use and design museum technologies so they may gain ideas, resources, and connections for creating interactive exhibits and lobby displays. I see a massive opportunity to make museums and science centers even more popular than going to the movie theaters. Educators and designers will be able to collaborate on my platform to innovate and exchange ideas about things like engaging students using lobby display technologies, and how to attract more visitors to your planetarium. I have provided several links to outside websites that support my proposal.
Educational Need and Opportunity
The educational need I wish to address is students learning at a deeper level. A wooden exhibit will catch a child’s attention for only a few minutes, but an interactive hands-on exhibit integrating technology is bound to have a measurably longer lasting effect. “Dwell time” is the concept of how long visitors spend at a certain exhibit or display at a given museum. Anthony Rock of the Association of Science - Technology Centers (ASTC) has a similar hypothesis. In the blog post Dwell on This Anthony talks about something called cognitive dwell time and what that means in terms of lesson engagement levels. The longer a learner stays engaged, the longer their cognitive dwell time. In Dwell on This an example was given about a children’s museum that brought to life well known children’s books and thereby had the effect of engaging the visitors even outside the museum exhibit. Continuing the lesson by using corresponding books, digital resources, or after hours activities are great ways to extend the lesson well beyond the physical museum exhibit.
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.
My target learning audience is anyone who is interested in interactive, informal education at museums, planetariums, and other science centers. I would love anyone to contribute their experiences with their favorite museum exhibits and displays. I want to be more technical than just public opinion, though, and I want to be able to gain statistical knowledge from my NLS. My hope is that my platform will provide a place for museum curators and education professionals to exchange ideas.
The Plan of Action
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. My planned course of action for creating my networked learning space is to build upon my Pinterest profile I made at the beginning of this class. The tool I will be using for this NLS is Pinterest since almost all websites have a “share on Pinterest” option, I think that would really benefit our community. I have begun to populate my Pinterest NLS with a few different boards. The topics I have chosen for my boards so far are eLearning, STEM education, Space Themes, Planetarium Technologies, and Museum Education. I have already learned about very important museums like the Please Touch! Museum in Philadelphia, PA. I’ve become inspired by places like The Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI), and Exploratorium in San Francisco, CA. I was also working with Google Plus Communities, but found it to be slow to learn and somewhat unpopular. However, I will still continue to explore the option of Google + Communities. From this week’s assigned viewings I learned about Flipboard, and I really want to explore that as I continue to get deeper into this project. I look forward to growing this networked learning space and seeing what it’s capable of achieving!