Author: IDEA

Games and gaming principles have a useful role in exhibit design for both real world and virtual settings. “As educators, we’re always looking for ways to make museum content ‘stickier’ and more meaningful,” says Michelle Moon in a recent blog post, “All fun and games.”  Moon designs and runs public programs for adults at the Peabody Essex Museum.

To get thinking about it, here are some simple game structures that work well for museum learning: (more…)

Search the pages of America’s historic newspapers (1836-1922) with the new Chronicling America web site from the Library of Congress. Chronicling America provides access to information about historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages. Here are 3 newspapers from 100 years ago today: (more…)

Undergraduate education is valuable, but expensive, averaging $375/course at a community college, and $3.5k/course at a private university. As higher education explores new business models, many are trying out  free massive enrollment courses. These courses are typically not for credit (which is easier to administer and get internal approval for), and allows the schools to see what it takes chance the assumptions about delivering education.  (more…)

Film and video can be compelling forms of communication — but using video in science is hard to do well. Science is complex and scientists are groomed throughout their careers to speak in a precise, measured way. Film makers, on the other hand, rarely have a graduate background in science, and they are attuned to storytelling, colorful characters and sound bites. Thus a conflict often rises between filmmakers and scientists, which is colorfully summarized by wildlife filmmaker Chris Palmer(more…)

Can profits and kids mix? In a recent edSurge article, Tom Segal argues for the role of the “for-profit” entrepreneurship in the development of educational technology. Profit motives are what spur innovation at the technological level and therefore schools should look to for-profit businesses to further advancements in education-related technology. (more…)

Getting the community involved in contributing content to an online project is a great form of public participation, and also a way to build  large repositories of content. However, the underbelly of community-generated content is bad taste, inappropriate content, and outright abuse.

This seedy side is particularly evident in social networks sites, where users upload photos from their cell phones. To keep it clean,  social media sites hire legions of inexpensive laborers via crowdsourcing sites like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and CrowdFlower to screen uploaded content. (more…)

Science journal subscriptions can cost libraries several thousand dollars a year, yet most institutions members only make use of a few articles from each of these journals. The huge subscription expenses limit how many journals each school or company can carry. Even single article pricing can be staggering, at $30-50 each. Sinisa Hrvatin, a doctoral candidate at Harvard, and his roommate Robert McGrath believe they have a better way. (more…)

What happens to a city when the people that lived there die off or are absorbed by others? War, disease and natural disaster can all wipe out anyone who might carry on the story and heart of a city. (more…)

Since spring 2010, this blog has covered all kinds of outreach topics, from museums to mobile devices to ebooks to blog networks. The most popular articles have been about strategic communications and QR Codes. These articles were written by Michael Douma, and many were long-form articles, based on multiple interviews or new analysis. Now, we’re going to try something

Expand your outreach capacity with multiple media, multiple languages, new sites and apps, and other features by hiring freelancers. Here’s an overview of marketplaces we’ve successfully used at IDEA.


In our global world, there’s no excuse for staying limited to English speakers, especially when there’s greater need for education in non-English places. Even if you have multilingual staff, most translations will be better and more cost effective if you outsource. Professional translators are efficient, and skilled at adapting idioms and phrases. They tend to be detail-oriented, soft spoken individuals. (more…)