Thursday, 16 May 2013

Hi-Fi to Wi-Fi: applying technology to the museum: HME Meeting Monday May 13, 2013

Guess where this QR code leads?
Using technology to meet accessibility needs for visitors to museums and galleries in historic homes/buildings
•    if there is no elevator or access for people with physical disabilities how do they see your site?
•    using screens and videography to explore the site.
•    screens would be set up in the lobby.
•    how to make these videos interactive and exploratory?
•    Museum and Technology Grant

•    Hamilton Factory Media has equipment rentals
•    use PowerPoint or Keynote to create visual program for display.
•    these video terminals/screens can also be used to showcase your site for prospective visitors who are concerned with what they’re going to see for the admission paid.

Ways to use technology to enhance your exhibitions and programs
•    Historical context: Ruthven played television commercials from the 1960s in their 1960s era kitchen during the Christmas season.
•    iPads can be borrowed for enhanced visitor experience and information.
o    issue with visitors signing release forms to ensure iPads be returned was problematic and caused visitor mistrust.
o    mounting iPads in kiosks might be a better option.
•    QR codes to be used with smartphones to give information.
o    RBG uses QR codes along their trail system.
o    iPods and iPads can also read these.
o    QR code app available for iPhone called Scan

•    Digital images of archival material make it easily accessible when it otherwise can’t be accessed.

Do we need a mixed-device environment in our museums and galleries?

Is technology a more inexpensive option than print materials?

Content generation for QR codes, social media, iPads is too time consuming?

The importance of tracking usage is important and can give information as to the demographic most using technology at your site or your social media.
•    Always question who your demographic is and if they are even users of technology (is offering technology a waste of your resources and time if your visitors don’t use it).
•    what technology is best suited for your demographic?
•    non-users might find touch screens simple and easier to use, certainly less intimidating.

Changing technology is a concern.

Social Media: Good or Bad?
•    can be a great introduction to your site.
•    can be easy “informal and friendly” access for research questions and collections concerns.
•    can break down institutional hierarchies as an entrance into your institution.
•    Facebook as a search tool for tourists.
•    can use Foursquare for Facebook feed data.
•    social media allows for other institutions to link to your site to create communities.
•    allows for a conversational tone for information about your site (less formal).
•    suggested that the ideal time to post is after 1pm.
•    always post information with pictures/images to catch attention.
•    Facebook and Twitter allows preloading content to post at certain times.
•    social media builds relationships between museum/gallery staff and the community.

•    meet the requirements of useful/practical and cool.
•    a useful and easy to use database is an excellent resource for international audiences.
•    issue of data entry and ensuring the data loaded into the database is correct.

Online Classes/Courses and Content
•    programming can be made available on your website.
•    great for adult classes to offer online content to go with in-gallery content.
•    Google Hangouts allow for recordable conversations/ lectures.
•    Khan Academy’s.
•    conversational short videos with art historians, historians and staff are great learning tools.
•    Ask a Curator.

OMA Education Program Course

Courtesy OMA's Twitter! @museumsontario
I just returned from an intensive, 3-day course in Sarnia with the OMA.
It was their Education Programs course, part of their Certificate in Museums Studies.

Held in the beautiful new Judith & Norman Alix Gallery, the instructor Melissa Wakeling from Glanmore National Historic Site was a wonderful facilitator, introducing great concepts and modeling best practice throughout! (that is, teaching to all possible learning intelligences).

Here, I thought I'd share with you a few of the great take-aways from the course:

Know your learning style. While this may seem self-indulgent, knowing your preferred learning style will help you recognize any preference you may have when constructing programs and activities. What you think is a great activity may only be working with your preferred learning style.
Assess your learning style here.

Beware apple pigs! That is, make sure your museum's mandate is always connected to your programming. Create activities accordingly. It's a baseless activity for a heritage village museum to stick marshmallows on an apple in the shape of a pig for a harvest-themed program (unless, of course, you can find early settlers who did this with their precious produce!)

Feed 'em, teach 'em, entertain 'em. Adults learn differently from children. They're also motivated by different factors. Want to get adults in to your museum? Feed 'em, teach 'em, and entertain 'em.

Curriculum, curriculum, curriculum! Teachers are busy people. We want them in our museums, and we can make it easier for them to come here by adding value to our programs and marketing that will appeal directly to them. Teachers need to justify their field trips: make clear connections to curriculum. Even better (for all you keeners), make a rubric for your program. Allow the teacher to stand back and have the chance to observe the class. And, with a handy rubric, they can grade the students easily. And certainly, speak their language! We all have insider-speak; if you use the glossary (found in the Ontario Curriculum), then the teacher (and students!) can very easily make connections to what they're doing in class.