Mobiles and informal learning spaces: libraries and museums

October 17, 2013
11:00 am - 12:00 pm PST
By Connected Learning Alliance

How is mobile technology transforming and enriching the experiences of informal learning spaces such as libraries and museums?

Key Questions and Comments:

  • (07:33) [Utilizing mobile in spaces like museums] is about creating contemporary pathways and alternative ways for people to access and bring meaning to permanent exhibits.
  • (10:20) I’ve divided mobile into three different categories:
  •     1. Mobile ‘things’ we can push out in the building, and the affordances that come with putting people into your network
  •     2. Mobile scenarios we can create when we’re pushing our content outside the architecture — geolocation, for example
  •     3. Mobile experiments via “pop-ups” and camps we can do outside of our facility
  • (13:50) We don’t want people falling into holes while they’re holding their mobile devices. One way we’re addressing that is by not treating the mobile device as awindow to the place while you’re there; it’s rather a kind of collecting tray or bag in which to put things.
  • (17:34) How we build enriching bridges between an ‘inside’ experience and an ‘outside’ experience–the ‘during’ of a visit to a brick-and-mortar institution and the ‘after’ (and also maybe the ‘before)–is right at the core of this larger set of challenges.
  • (25:43) Maybe by pulling [mobile technology] out of its context as a fetish object–something we depend upon, something that has a great deal of consumer good charisma attached to it–to see it as a means of discovery can help people crack open their relationship with this technology
  • (27:18) We have an audience question that asks whether we have some examples that we’d be interested in sharing about museums and libraries using mobile to ‘seep outside their walls’ and include physical locations in the surrounding area?
  • (32:54) The first major mobile educational experience that was developed [at the American Museum of Natural History] called ‘Urban Biodiversity Network’ was all about getting young people to leave the museum, go explore Central Park next door, and look at & investigate habitats using mobile devices.
  • (39:00) The question is: the balance of the sensory experiences that are enabled by mobile devices, and also where we sacrifice certain aspects of the experiences that was the traditional core experience before a mobile device enters the scene.
  • (44:51) We know that science does happen in the art museum and there’s beauty & art in the Natural History Museum. Finding ways to get these collections talking to one each other, to transcend those walls, is a fascinating modality to us.
  • (47:35) What we want people to experience when they’re in a space like the museum, is to be intentional. If they’re going to be using a mobile device somehow to mediate or augment their experience, we want them to be choosing to do it. Not doing it because they feel compelled to do it, due to their pull to use digital media to disconnect.
  • (50:18) In the Livestream, there’s an appetite being expressed for very concrete models that people can refer to, having to do with a shift from just the use of mobile devices as an information vector to a much more creative set of possibilities. What is involved in this shift?
  • (53:14) Usually, those creative use scenarios–they emerge out of very concrete sets of ambitions. They don’t usually start at the level of the whole museum; they start at the level of ‘How do we create a particular experience that’s designed with a very specific set of objectives in mind?’ Then, that can become a model that one builds on.

From this Series:

View the Conversation
During the broadcast, the conversation also took place on Twitter using the hashtags #connectedlearning and #mobileed.

Guests for this webinar included:

  • Jeffrey Schnapp – Co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society; Founder, metaLAB at Harvard
  • Barry Joseph – Associate Director for Digital Learning, American Museum of Natural History
  • Allegra Burnette – Creative Director, Digital Media at The Museum of Modern Art
  • Matthew Battles – Principal & Associate Director, metaLAB at Harvard
  • Nate Hill – Assistant Director, Chattanooga Public Library

Resources for this webinar:

#ConnectedLearning Discussion on Twitter

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