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
Crowdsourcing means involving a lot of people in small pieces of a project. In educational and nonprofit outreach, crowdsourcing is a form of engagement, such as participating in an online course, collecting photos of butterflies for a citizen-science project, uploading old photos for a community history project, deciphering sentences from old scanned manuscripts, playing protein folding games to help scientists discover new ways to fight diseases, or participating in online discussions. (more…)
Virtual exhibits on tablet devices (e.g., the Apple iPad) put exhibits at the fingertips of students and the public. Visitors can browse science, art or culture from classrooms, during their commutes, or from their sofas. — But where does the money come from?
As with physical museums, the problem with charging money for downloads is limiting visitation to enthusiasts. Access must free to get significant use on tablet computers in classrooms, or by people who would not otherwise pay. Aside from grant support or advertisements, are there other revenue models? Could funding come from the community?
We posit that virtual exhibit apps could be free downloads, giving a preview teaser. Then, to see the rest of the exhibit, visitors pay for access, sponsor access for others, or request free access. Here’s how it might look: (more…)
The system of getting knowledge about science to the public is broken. One major crack in the system is a disconnect between science museums and new science research.
Science museums matter
Aside from the news media, which now has less science coverage as the journalism business contracts, museums play a vital role in how the public learns about science outside of school. New data show that science museums play an important part in this informal learning.
Despite enthusiastic scientists who are using social media, leading citizen science, and supporting other kinds of outreach, the vast majority of scientific information is ensconced in journals and conferences.
To connect this knowledge to the public, it’s common practice for closed-access journals to give journalists free (advance) access to new articles. But the same courtesy is not provided to science museums that would also benefit from new articles, as well as a back library of older articles. And science museums rarely budget for journal subscriptions. (more…)
The National STEM Video Game Challenge, awarded the $50k grand prize last week to a professional team that did not meet the eligibility criteria.
This story came to my attention last week, when I wrote a blog post about a cool online science game for Middle School kids which won the grand prize as part of the contest run by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop (the parent organization of Sesame Street) and E-Line Media. That article briefly mentioned anomalies in the contest, and the Cooney Center sent me an email: “Please take this article down as soon as possible because of a legal issue that is pending.” This made me wonder, is there a scandal on Sesame Street?
“This is your target” the game says, pointing at an ordinary looking cartoon woman in a T-shirt and track pants. “If you pay close attention to the host’s weaknesses, you can make a disease that will get the host super duper sick!” (more…)