There are gender wars, and then there are casualties. It wasn’t until 2011 that the behemoth toymaker LEGO acknowledged girls’ desire to build with bricks, even though the company had long before made a seemingly effortless pivot to co-branding, video games, and major motion pictures. So it’s little wonder that girls face all-too-real obstacles when […]Read more
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…)
Online courses can be a great way to teach (and learn) new skills. They can be small and highly personal, or scale to thousands of students. As followup to my post about “What is an online course?”, let’s look behind the scenes at a few kinds of successful online classes, rich with video, feedback and large amounts of real-world work.
Structuring a course
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) currently has six 8 or 10 week online courses. The cost is $200 for self-guided courses, or $350 for instructor-led. The latter enroll 30-45 students. MoMA offers both knowledge classes, e.g., “Modern and Contemporary Art: 1945–1989,” and knowledge/skill courses, e.g., “Materials and Techniques of Postwar Abstract Painting,” in which students do hands-on work at home.
The instructor-led classes offer structure, socialization and personalization; whereas, the self-guided courses are about individual freedom, providing access to curated articles and video, with no live instructor facilitation nor social interaction with other students.
The studio-art offerings have weekly assignments. For example, students paint canvases using the materials and techniques of iconic artists. They photograph their works in progress and finished, and upload them to discuss with other students and the instructor. Wendy Woon directs MoMA’s education department. She feels the 10-week timeframe has worked well for studio art, allowing enough time for a sense of trust and community to develop in the discussion forums so that students are willing to have “critical conversations” criticizing each other’s work.
Gameplay has a lot to teach us about motivating participation through joy. ‘Gamification’ is a new term, coined in 2008, for adapting game mechanics into non-game setting — such as building online communities, education and outreach, marketing, or building educational apps. Here are some ideas for how to do it.
Badges, trophies and points represent having accomplished something. Since antiquity, people have been honored with medals, crowns and other decorations. Wreaths made of bay laurel were awarded to Greek athletes, and worn by Roman poets (e.g., Ovid, at left). (more…)
Wireframes and sketches are the intermediary between a conceptual plan, and the actual, detailed prototypes and specifications needed to build a project. (more…)
There is no better way to reach underserved audiences than to drive directly to them. Mobile museums, in converted RVs or semi-trailers, are delivering history, science and art experiences. Here are two great examples.
Reaching rural audiences for $10.71 per visitor, the “Van of Enchantment” brings cultural history to schools and public events in New Mexico — at no cost to visitors. New Mexico’s rich history traces back at least 11,000 years, and includes a flourishing Pueblo community in the 13th century, Spanish conquistadors and colonists in the 16th century, and railroads in the late 19th century. (more…)
What’s the difference between a science museum and a science center? To insiders, the difference is the extent a museum is based on a collection of objects vs. experiences they create for visitors.
To the public, it’s largely immaterial. (more…)
Walking over rough sandstone blocks, between adobe houses, our $20/person tour wove through the streets and alleys of a small village atop a mesa in the Acoma Pueblo, in New Mexico.
The tour culminated in the local church (at right), the San Esteban del Rey Mission, which is a source of great pride, and also a symbol of Catholic persecution of traditional peoples. The earthen walls are many feet thick, and the roof is supported by centuries-old logs. (more…)
Incorporating interactivity that is purposeful. Users perform knee surgery, understanding the process and steps. (EdHeads) Exploring the properties of ocean waves. (Pearson / Prentice Hall) Another exhibit, experimenting with ocean wave periods and amplitudes with a different interface. (National Geographic (Volvo Ocean Race)) Problem You need to explain how a process works. Solution Devise