Snigglings (tooting my own horn)

Here’s a post listing some recent mentions of the work I’ve been privileged to be involved with.

Last week I was in Pittsburgh at the Museums and Computer Network conference, now one of my favorite. I offered a session called Making a Dino Dance: integrating a user-centered design process into a natural history museum, a ten minute overview of our work in FY17 (re: Prototyping Interactive Data Viz: Lessons Learned in FY17). It was a nice opportunity, among peers, to explore how the sausage is made.

Christine Murray, from Antenna International, wrote in her report-back from MCN that this session provided her with one of her key takeaways from the event:

Match Content Goals to Technology

The best example I saw of this in the VR space was Barry Joseph’s presentation on the usercentric approach to data visualization adopted by the American Museum of Natural History.  For one exhibit, they tested three ways to communicate a complicated concept about space: stars appear two-dimensionally in the night sky because our eyes view them from a fixed point, but actually, those stars are in motion, moving at different speeds.  The museum took an agile approach, prototyping great interactive experiences employing a different kind of technology or gaming strategy each time.  Their prototypes failed, and then failed again, until they discovered that VR – and the inherent nature of the medium itself – was the best tool for their message.  VR allowed visitors to “physically” move through constellations, changing their relative perspective and seeing the results in real time, which helped them grasp the concept instantly.  This was the first time deploying VR has ever made sense to me in a museum context.

Thanks Christine! So glad to see it was useful.

A broader review of our work, both here at the Museum and, in my previous life within the Online Leadership Program at Global Kids, became the subject of a delightful podcast with Marc Lesser, of the after school program Mouse, in his new series No Such Thing. In “Episode 9: New Realities in Museum Learning,” Marc, whom I have known for years, invited Jessy Jo Gomez (a former student of mine, now educator herself) to join in as co-host for the episode. We talked about games-based learning, how to parse VR, AR and other emerging media platforms and what they afford for learning, and shared how much we love each other (because we do!).

If you’re ready to feel the love, check it out here.

Finally, StoryEngine is the Mozilla Foundation’s “deep listening, learning, and impact narrative methodology.” In other words, they interviewed me, about my 17 year history in youth development, with a focus on digital learning, and where it aligns with Mozilla’s interest in an open and safe Internet. Read it all here.

About Barry

The Associate Director For Digital Learning, Youth Initiatives at the American Museum of Natural History.
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