The 2013 Mooshme Survey: Looking Back, Looking Forward

As 2012 turned to 2013, I wondered what the highlights had been in the past year in the intersection of digital media and museum-based learning? At the same time, I wondered what trends I needed to watch in the coming year. To find out, I turned to the ISEN-ASTC listserv and invited others as well to respond. I want to thank everyone who took the time to share their thoughts, and invite you to do the same (in the comments below).

What has been a 2012 highlight in the intersection of digital media and museum-based learning?

Watching my daughter and her cousin share brief photo rich graphic animations they produced in collaboration with others as part of the American Museum of Natural History’s Middle School Evolution Institute (a 2-week program offered by the Museum).
– Ro Kinzler, Senior Director, Science Education (American Museum of Natural History)

First, the rise of the maker movement, with that world just opening up. Second, the deepening connection of museums with social media.
– Bryan Alexander, Senior Fellow (National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education)

21-tech.org!
– Toph Bryant, Retail Services (Kentucky Science Center)

Museums are developing mobile apps at a greater and greater rate. Embedded GPS for outdoor navigation and visitor decision-making is the feature one of my client is working on.
– Carey Tisdal, Evaluator (Tisdal Consulting)

Museum communication through social media has really help us connect and communicate with our patrons.
– Patsy Reublin, Executive Director (Bootheel Youth Museum)

Digital badging—a form of “microcredentialing” that enables people to display “credits” on their digital resumes for work they have completed online or in the real world. Last year [2011] the Mozilla Foundation launched an Open Badge Infrastructure project to create a common, shared platform for these credentials, and the MacArthur Foundation held a $2 million “badges for learning competition” to fund specific badging projects. At least six museums made it past the first round of competition. Digital badging could provide a way for museums to vastly increase the value of their digital assets to learners.
– Elizabeth Merritt, Founding Director (Center for the Future of Museums)

Tablets. Also, NYIT/Albany Institute of History and Art’s IMLS grant to connect museums to the classroom using web conferencing tools
– Jason, Digital Learning Developer (Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium)

I think the highlight would have to be science centers considering new models of engagement that use media and technology more closely aligned with how audiences use technology, and as a way to re-imagine the field. Also the appearance of more game based learning connected to tracking systems.
– Eli Kuslansky, Consultant (Unified Field)

The Mars Curiosity Rover digital media coverage and info, especially the response offerings such as this Kickstarter campaign. We utilize a similar robot with LED reflectance spectrometer and visitors are enthralled!
– Blair Clarkson, Programs Coordinator, Visitor Experience (Ontario Science Centre)

The awarding and convening of the first cohort of the IMLS/MacArthur Learning Lab grants (Learning Labs are teen digital media and creativity spaces) and the awarding of a second cohort.  These organizations are learning a tremendous amount about how to take the ideas that guided the initial experiments at YOUmedia and elsewhere to new venues in a variety of ways.  At the same time, the maturation of digital learning theory continued from the HOMAGO model to Connected Learning with the recognition that effective learning around digital media and indeed around nearly any topic, is not only interest-based and peer-networked, but is also connected to meaningful content for the future needs of the learner.
– David L. Smith, Chief Scientist (Da Vinci Science Center)

I think there are three highlights: Physical computing is integrating spaces and interpretation, which makes experiences richer and more immersive. Augmented Reality has started playing with the overlay of reality and digital, but it still needs more development. Finally, Mobile technology is allowing visitors to control their learning, explore, overlap and integrate their discoveries through the sharing capabilities.
– Helene Alonso, Director, Exhibition Interactives and Media (American Museum of Natural History)

What is something you plan to keep a close eye on in 2013 regarding the intersection of digital media and museum-based learning?

The potential of massively open online courses (moocs) to extend learning opportunities with the Museum to large #s of teachers and other types of learners literally around the globe.
– Ro Kinzler, Senior Director, Science Education (American Museum of Natural History)

Several things. 3d printing – think about kids or adults being able to print copies or modified versions of objects. Gamification – much potential for this in museums.
– Bryan Alexander, Senior Fellow (National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education)

In my world, membership tracking integration on mobile devices.
– Toph Bryant, Retail Services (Kentucky Science Center)

While there seem to be more and more mobile apps, only a few appear to have been tested for usability. Are more of us beginning to do this? What methods are cost-effective, answer real questions, and make better apps? How can they be sustained to be fresh, up-to-date, and accurate?
– Carey Tisdal, Evaluator (Tisdal Consulting)

Bar code scanning
– Patsy Reublin, Executive Director (Bootheel Youth Museum)

2012 was a breakout year for 3D printing in museums, with at least 4 organizations holding “hackathons” that included manipulation of digital collections data with 3-D printers. I think this will spread in 2013, while the new emergent star will be thing-to-thing communication. Near field communication, location-aware tech and the “internet of things” create the potential for a personalized, interactive environment that creates a tailored museum experience for every user. Soon your smart phone will be tracking how you react to works in a museum, and suggesting what you should go see next.
– Elizabeth Merritt, Founding Director (Center for the Future of Museums)

Mobile.
– Jason, Digital Learning Developer (Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium)

Multi-channel exhibits and programs that connect the physical and the virtual, inside and outside the museum.
– Eli Kuslansky, Consultant (Unified Field)

Similar offerings to [The Mars Curiosity Rover] as these are becoming the leading edge of potential offerings…
– Blair Clarkson, Programs Coordinator, Visitor Experience (Ontario Science Centre)

Can museums, which have historically had fee-based access, find a new way to interact with teens that can break down this barrier? Libraries, which have free access, have been some of the leading sites for innovative teen programming. It will be interesting to see how museums can learn from libraries in this arena.
– David L. Smith, Chief Scientist (Da Vinci Science Center)

The different technologies that close the gap between the digital and real worlds. The overlap of interpretation and architecture. Anything that allows the visitor to gain control over his/her museum experience.
– Helene Alonso, Director, Exhibition Interactives and Media (American Museum of Natural History)

About Barry

The Associate Director For Digital Learning, Youth Initiatives at the American Museum of Natural History.
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4 Responses to The 2013 Mooshme Survey: Looking Back, Looking Forward

  1. Eric Siegel says:

    I think this past year has had a number of cautionary tales about the use of digital media in museums. With the increasing flight into apps, a closed version of connectivity is growing while the openness of the web is increasingly filled with shopping and pornography. It is a sad transition for the high hopes of the world wide web. I am hoping that more people develop for the web and use the connectivity implicit in the webs structure in 2013, rather than just hoping that people stay on their web site or within their walled app.

    Also, the personalization of apps and the web has grown at such a rate (again for commercial reasons) that there are legitimate concerns for privacy particularly among parents of young people and students. The idea that our identity and location is going to be increasingly accessible is problematic at best, and apps that rely on personalization I think are going to confront a serious challenge.

    I do hope that museums, libraries and other informal learning groups continue the trends supported by MacArthur and Mozilla through the Hive and other orgs to encourage the use of digital media for production, of stories, of music, of images, for creativity rather than just receiving information. That is what I will be watching most closely in 2013–how are digital platforms being used to transform people from consumers to producers–whether it is of knowledge, of images, of music, stories, political activity, of new connections. There are some amazing new tools for sharing, and long standing forums of musicians, artists, writers, scientists, technologists continue to flourish. Technology as a tool for creativity and social connection, that is what I have been looking for since I first got my hands on a PC in 1983.

  2. Barry, I wonder if you’d be interested in sending this survey to other listservs, such as childmus (children’s museums). Since the primary audience at children’s museums is often younger than at science centers, the CM perspective might paint a slightly different picture of digital media in museums.

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