The Spring conference season is upon us! Over the next four weeks, Barry and I are gearing up for at least 7 talks and presentations about games and learning in museums, blended learning, augmented reality and more, all based on our work with young people at AMNH. We’ll be touching on MicroRangers, Crime Scene Neanderthal and Dreams of the Haida Child. And the robot… we can’t forget the robot.
First stop, this week in Los Angeles, for Museums and the Web. There, Barry will take part in two session and skip a third (to be explained below):
- This Thursday, from 3:30pm – 5:00pm, Barry will work with colleagues from the Field Museum, CalAcademy, and the Blaton Museum to offer the following: “Opening the MWXX Pop-up Museum: Gaming Square Pegs into Dinosaur-shaped.” Inspired by last year’s session at the Games, Learning and Society Conference (here), this session helps attendees explore how both museums and games are constructed experiences and what happens when the two meet. In advance of the session, Barry put out a call for artifacts from the past 19 Museums and the Web conferences. On Thursday, attendees will step into the role of museum curators, exhibit designers and more to build a pop-up museum using these artifacts which will be open throughout the conference. Games will be involved (more on that later). Then MicroRangers will be explored as a case study within the context of museums exploring game play and design as an innovation in visitor engagement.
- On Friday, from 9:00am – 9:50am, Barry will join with colleagues from Antenna International and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC to offer For, With and By – Making Museums Awesome for Kids. They’ll be asking “How do we make encounters at museums, online and via apps that are responsive to kids, placing them at the center of the experience both before, during, and after their visit?” They will explore projects that let children’s voices in at the outset, including the Met’s #metkids and our Crime Scene Neanderthal (our first time presenting on it!), and how this shifts the conversation from kids as the audience of tomorrow to one of critical importance in museum learning today.
- On Saturday, from 10:30pm – 12:00pm, Barry regrets (due to his flight schedule) that he will not be able to attend “Closing the MWXX Pop-up Museum” in which his colleagues from Thursday offer MWxx attendees one last chance to visit the Pop-Up Museum, explore it through a series of mobile games that will have been created during the first session, and explore the future of gaming in museums.
On Sunday, April 17th, you will find us both at our museum at the Game On! MicroRangers Competition. If you are interested in playing MicroRangers at the American Museum of Natural History, with the chance to win prizes including toys, games, and even a Night at the Museum Sleepover, then head to the MicroRangers cart in the Hall of Ocean Life anytime between 10:00am-5:00pm on the 17th.
The fun with MicroRangers doesn’t stop there. One day later, on Monday, April 18th we will be at the Games for Change Games and Media Summit as MicroRangers is being featured in the daylong, hands-on Arcade. That’s right – we’ll be simulating Museum exhibits so you can play MircoRangers in an alternative setting. And don’t miss, on the panels, from 2:30 – 3:05, our very own Catherine Devine, on the session “Augmenting Museum Realities” talking about experiences and experiments in treating museums less like temples and more like game boards.
If you are interested in education in museums, come find us at the annual New York City Museum Educators Roundtable (NYCMER) conference on Monday, May 2nd. We will be discussing our work in three different sessions.
- One will focus on how we have experimented with telepresence robots in the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians.
- In the second Barry will take part in “Ask the Experts: Activating your Museum through a Younger Lens,” along with colleagues from the Park Avenue Armory and the Museum of Modern Art. Actually, the three educators will step aside and support youth from programs across the three institutions to address the audience and youth program ideas emerging across the city.
- In a third session, “The NYCMER Digital Playground: exploring new tools for creating and distributing digital content in museums,” I will join colleagues from the Museum of the Moving Image and Eyebeam. This session will offer a digital playground for the NYCMER community where participants can explore new tools for creating and distributing digital content in their institutions. Personally, I will focus on how we use augmented reality in MicroRangers and Dreams of the Haida Child.
As we pull together all of the materials for each of these talks and presentations I cannot help but buzz with excitement. These conferences offer us the incredible opportunity to not only share our work with others but to get valuable feedback from educators, game designers, and creative thinkers across the country. The diversity of the conferences we will be attending will also likely lead to new conversations, ideas, and collaborations that will enhance and help us think about our daily work. We hope to see you, and others you might know, that are interested in some of these projects and ideas in the audience at these sessions or during a break at one of the conferences.