Youth-proof Your Program at ASTC14! Get vetted by a teen critique panel

So you think you know how to design innovative youth-programs incorporating digital media? Then step up and prove it! Present your existing program (or one in development) to a panel of youth from museum education programs around the country and the ASTC audience for feedback.

This October, Raleigh, North Carolina will be the site of ASTC14 (the annual conference of The Association of Science-Technology Centers). On Saturday, Oct 18th, from 4:30 pm- 5:45pm, Rik Panganiban of the California Academy of Science, Matthew L. Faerber of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, and I will support a half dozen teens from our respective institutions to offer something unlike anything ever seen before at ASTC.

Digital media has emerged as a powerful force transforming the context in which visitors experience museums. Educational programs within science centers and natural history museums are often on the forefront experimenting with different ways to leverage the unique affordances of different tools for informal science learning. The three of us could have proposed a standard session allowing educators to describe their innovations with games, tools of digital fabrication, and more but, instead, we decided it was time to up the ante.

It’s time for a reality check.

Please consider this your formal invitation to register in advance for a slot to present your program (space is limited, so act now!), not through a traditional presentation but in a critique session. Critique sessions allow thoughtful but difficult questions to be asked and addressed. For example, it is not good enough just to say you made a science-learning game. Was the game actually fun? Did youth actually play it, and, if they did, how do you know they learned anything? Okay, so you offered a program that used 3D printers. Was the cost of time and resources for using the printers worth the benefits it brought to the learners? The critique session will be exciting for the audience to watch and provide a model for how to deepen the development process when using digital media for informal science learning amongst youth.

And to raise the stakes even further, rather than be judged by a community of your peers, you will be presenting to an all-youth panel, high school students who actively participate in educational programs at science museums and natural history museums from around the country. These will be youth selected based on their experience within museums, their passion for science, their knowledge of digital media, and their ability to think critically about combining the three in new and exciting ways. Youth will also be selected based on their ability to express themselves, have strong opinions, and offer thoughtful critiques.

Are you up to the challenge? If so, sign-up now using the following form. Sign up here:

If you have any questions or comments, please use the “Comment” box below. This post will be updated over time with the final selection and schedule of “contestants”.

About Barry

The Associate Director For Digital Learning, Youth Initiatives at the American Museum of Natural History.
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One Response to Youth-proof Your Program at ASTC14! Get vetted by a teen critique panel

  1. We are super excited to be participating in this unique session. Do consider pitching your work, or just come and cheer on the presenters and the teens!

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