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EVA 2011_Museum Learning 2.0: 
(How) Can Web 2.0 technologies be used for 
enhancing the museum learning experience? 

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EVA 2011_Museum Learning 2.0: 
(How) Can Web 2.0 technologies be used for 
enhancing the museum learning experience? 


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Presentation for EVA London 2011, 6-8 July 2011

Presentation for EVA London 2011, 6-8 July 2011

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  • Hello, I’m Koula and I’m a PhD student at IET at the Open University. My research is looking at technology enhanced museum visitor experience and particularly use of social media tools among young people in formal and non-formal places. What I’ll present here today is based on a study I carried out over the last few months. Its aim was to gain an understanding on how best to support aspects of the visiting experience such as meaning making via social media tools among school groups? My goal here is to present this work and some of the preliminary findings of this study.
  • A number of museums have responded enthusiastically to the challenges brought by social media. However, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are still predominantly used as marketing channels or as public relations channels, providing a platform for question and answer type interactions between the public and the museum. Little is known, thus, about the nature, scope and implications of this fast, but uneven uptake of social media in museums .
  • There is a growing debate in the sector about the promises, opportunities brought by social media. Of course the discussion refers to the possibilities and realities with respect to the learning provision too. However, little is currently known about applications and implications for museum learning.
  • There’s limited research on the educational effectiveness of digital technologies in museum’s sector, especially compared to traditional programmes. Therefore, there is room for empirical research on whether and how museums, learning and ‘social media’ intersect and how web 2.0 technologies could be integrated in museums’ learning programmes for schools.
  • Falk and Dierking (1992; 2000) investigated the contexts in which this learning takes place. The visitor/museum experience is, thus, conceptualised as the interaction of the personal, the social and the physical contexts. This was represented in what Falk and Dierking termed as the’ Contextual Model of Learning’. This model takes into account what visitors bring with them to the museum (personal and social context) and the characteristics of the museum as a setting (physical context). Importantly, the visitor is viewed as being actively engaged in the construction and reconstruction of these three contexts, a process which is shaped by ‘time’ and is “filtered through the personal context, mediated by the social context, and embedded within the physical context” (1992, p.4). identify twelve suites of factors2 within three contexts which they consider crucial for museum learning: among them within-group social mediation; facilitated mediation by others.
  • How do young people’s interactions on Twitter help them to engage meaningfully with museum content and make sense of their experiences?
  • The visit was designed around the theme ‘Get Up, Stand up, Fight for your rights’ and the Museum of London was selected as the sit of the study and I will explain over the next couple of slides why. The participants were a Year 9 history class in a secondary school in MK and involved classroom based activities and a visit to the museum.
  • one of the themes running across the nee Galleries of Modern London at the museum and is related to KS3 History curriculum. Also, Museum of London was appropriate on the basis of some criteria that were set in advance, like its infrastructure (this is not common in museums!) and provision of programmes with the use of digital technologies, some of which I attended before the study. Presence on social media tools. Also, personal communication with museum staff showed that they are thinking of using Twitter for their learning provision and were interested in investigating this further.
  • Twitter was selected as the social networking tool to be used to complement the interactions among the participants during the visit. For the people who are not familiar with Twitter, Twitter is primarily a microblogging platform, where every user can publish short messages up to 140 characters, so-called ‘tweets’. There are some leaflets that I will pass around - trying to recruit some more Twitterers here! There are quite a few reasons why I opted for Twitter: first, it has both synchronous and asynchronous characteristics. It would allow the researchers to collect participants’ reactions to what they experience at the MoL but also enable communication beyond the visit. There is a growing body of research on Twitter and discourse on its effectiveness as an educational tool. The advantages of microblogging, according to Ebner et al. (2010) consist mainly in the possibility of giving immediate feedback and in documenting processes (p. 94). It is quite simple to use. Also, in UK updates can be carried out using SMS, and this means that it could be used even without a network in the museum during the visit ( I was lucky enough that MoL had infrastructure, but not all the museums do). It has been embraced with enthusiasm among museums worldwide, and as I already said, 1700 museums are using it and considering integration into educational programs
  • Various methods were used to collect data, as shown on this table. The focus of this presentation is on the tweets posted during the visit- however, without presenting the analysis of content - and observational data during the visit and interview data.
  • So, what the visit involved. Participants were in 8 groups of 3s/4s. Each group had to visit the three New London Galleries - each group had to follow a pre-defined trail across these spaces - not the same order for all the groups - and collect some evidence to use later for a presentation, according to a specific inquiry they had and was related to the overall theme of the visit (e.g. How people change the societies they live in). Also, each group had a printed booklet with instructions, map & some activities. However, the groups has flexibility over what objects to select and look at. Also, a digital recorder with a mic was attached to one member of the group and also each pair of participants had an iPhone. The participants were asked to use either Twitter or TweetDeck, specific hashtags were suggested. There were some restrictions on the number of pictures the groups should capture - but I’m afraid they didn’t really stick to the max number. Also, I have to say that the accounts were created prior the visit, Twitter was used in the classroom twice and also there was a project account called @MuseLearn, where all the participants were following. Also a list.
  • The first thing I did when approaching my data, was to look at all the tweets posted on the day of the visit - that is a total of 84 tweets and classify them into 9 broad themes that were identified in a first open-coding of the data, according to features of the tweet and content) . As you can see on the table, a high number (n=74) was related to the museum and its discourse, 11 were related to the trip and I thought it was very interesting fact that only one was related to extracurricular activities and was actually posted after the visit.
  • Also, most of the tweets were original posts with only 9 of them being direct replies. More than half were linked to activities related to the aim of the visit. What do all these tell me? First attempt to interpret the visit through a very basic numerical analysis. The fact that almost all the tweets are related to the museum and its discourse is particularly important given the nature of the visit; a self-directed visit, with teenagers equiped with internet connected mobile phones, and yet none of the participants contributed any ‘noise’ to the online discourse, about any of their extracurricular interests (this was noticed in the classroom activities for example). It also demonstrates an appropriate use of Twitter by students which shows that integration of social media in learning activities does not lead to students misusing them, as ‘media sceptics’ in the education sector claim.
  • Apart from looking at the tweets as numbers, my second approach in looking at my data, involved creating a visual representation of the twitter stream. The visit stream initially looked like this. The problem with Twitter and with every social media tool, is that the online discourse is rendered chronologically, rather than logically. This reflects and attributes importance to the time sequence of the contributions rather than their conceptual structure. Hence, it is difficult for users to track key issues raised in the conversations (e.g. ideas, arguments, questions) or the links attached to the tweet and thus to contribute to the conversation without reading the entire online conversation, clicking on links and being able to filter the ‘noise’. The same difficulty applies for the researcher when analysing and trying to make sense of the online discourse on Twitter. Hence, the approach followed here to analyse the tweets is to structure and represent the discourse as a semantic network of posts, as proposed by De Liddo et al. (2011, p. 6).
  • Interviews with 11 participants were conducted after the visit using a semi-structured approach and lasting approximately 15-20 min. In analysing the interview data thematic analysis was employed. Here, accounts from 3 groups are provided (n=5) to give insights on whether use of and interactions on Twitter, helped the participants to engage meaningfully with museum content and make sense of their experiences. So, there was evidence that the participants were reading each others tweets during the visit. One of the interviewees said: And they actually found the carriage, as they do have a tweet about this. Also, the second extract is indicative. This second level of interaction among the groups and entailed dialogic features; with one’s self as a reader, within and across the group once posts were read, with the objects and the institution and a broader audience which could potentially read the contributions. This ‘invisible interaction’ supported the negotiation and exchange of meaning making among the participants and shaped their collective experience at the museum.
  • Interviews with 11 participants were conducted after the visit using a semi-structured approach and lasting approximately 15-20 min. In analysing the interview data thematic analysis was employed. Here, accounts from 3 groups are provided (n=5) to give insights on whether use of and interactions on Twitter, helped the participants to engage meaningfully with museum content and make sense of their experiences. So, there was evidence that the participants were reading each others tweets during the visit. One of the interviewees said: And they actually found the carriage, as they do have a tweet about this. Also, the second extract is indicative. This second level of interaction among the groups and entailed dialogic features; with one’s self as a reader, within and across the group once posts were read, with the objects and the institution and a broader audience which could potentially read the contributions. This ‘invisible interaction’ supported the negotiation and exchange of meaning making among the participants and shaped their collective experience at the museum.
  • All the interviewees agreed that this was a very positive and engaging experience, especially compared to previous experiences
  • Specific questions were also posed about the use of mobile phones & Twitter during the visit. Here, two themes emerged: first, the notion of the technology assisting in getting ideas and interpretations across, thus creating an ‘opinion space’, where multiple opinions could be heard.
  • The second theme that emerged when answering questions about the use of technology is the notion of being connected and staying connected, creating an ‘inter-connected space’, bridging the different (physical) spaces of the museum. The following quotes demonstrate these points: Again, in this quote, the notion of engagement ‘we were really into it’
  • Also, beyond these points, it seems that use of Twitter helps the participants to ‘archive’ and possibly extend their museum experience, which otherwise would be disposable
  • To conclude, it could be argued that social networking tools can be used in museums for engaging students to participate and share their experiences. The interview data showed that there was a second level of interaction among the groups and entailed dialogic features; with one’s self as a reader, within and across the group once posts were read, with the objects and the institution and a broader audience which could potentially read the contributions. This ‘invisible interaction’ supported the negotiation and exchange of meaning making among the participants and shaped their collective experience at the museum. Also, these tools are appropriate for documenting and archiving their experience and for making the visit more social and more enjoyable. However, looking at my data and the so far findings, I would argue that the availability of such tools that enable users to generate content, may enable visitors to learn from each other and may change their experiences radically. However, it does not guarantee that.
  • To conclude, it could be argued that social networking tools can be used in museums for engaging students to participate and share their experiences. The interview data showed that there was a second level of interaction among the groups and entailed dialogic features; with one’s self as a reader, within and across the group once posts were read, with the objects and the institution and a broader audience which could potentially read the contributions. This ‘invisible interaction’ supported the negotiation and exchange of meaning making among the participants and shaped their collective experience at the museum. Also, these tools are appropriate for documenting and archiving their experience and for making the visit more social and more enjoyable. However, looking at my data and the so far findings, I would argue that the availability of such tools that enable users to generate content, may enable visitors to learn from each other and may change their experiences radically. However, it does not guarantee that. We need to rethink how we design, support and assess learning
  • How best to support aspects of the visiting experience such as meaning making (interpretation) via social media tools? How best to encourage and support visitor-generated content and enhance the quality of the online interactions? How to develop more effective pedagogic strategies that will anticipate and encourage the ways that young people use such technologies and collaboratively construct meaning? What (new) models of participation in museum learning programmes are enabled by social media tools?

EVA 2011_Museum Learning 2.0: 
(How) Can Web 2.0 technologies be used for 
enhancing the museum learning experience? 
 EVA 2011_Museum Learning 2.0: 
(How) Can Web 2.0 technologies be used for 
enhancing the museum learning experience? 
 Presentation Transcript

  • EVA London 2011 06 July 2011 Museum Learning 2.0: (How) Can Web 2.0 technologies be used for enhancing the museum learning experience?
    • K. Charitonos, C.Blake, E. Scanlon, A. Jones
    • [email_address]
    1
  • 2 A Web 2.0 world Virtual Worlds and games Social Networking Collaborative editing Blogging Social Bookmarking Media Sharing and creating Syndication Messaging
  • 3 The museum in a Web 2.0 world
  • Promises and Opportunities
    • engaging with an audience beyond the physical location
    • increasing geographic reach and potential impact
    • facilitating interactions with objects and about objects
    • facilitating collaboration and dialogue
    • creating new models of participation
    5 Learning?
  • Gap in the research
    • limited research or evaluation on the educational effectiveness of digital technologies in museum’s sector (Falk & Dierking, 2008)
    • little empirical evidence on whether and how museums, learning and social media intersect and how Web 2.0 technologies could be integrated in museums’ learning programmes for schools
    6
  • Contextual Model of Learning 7 Fig. 3: Contextual model of learning as proposed by Falk & Dierking (2000)
  • 8 Research Question How can museum spaces, artifacts and Web 2.0 tools be used to create participatory learning experiences which are engaging and meaningful?
  • Visit:‘Get Up, Stand Up: Fight for your rights’
        • Museum of London
        • Year 9 History class (n=29)
        • Pre- and Post-visit Classroom activities
    9 © Museum of London
  • Why ?
        • ‘Fight and Protest’ theme running across the ‘Galleries of Modern London’ linked to KS3 History Scheme of Work
        • infrastructure (internet in the galleries)
        • digital equipment (e.g. digital cameras, iPods and iPhones)
        • presence on social media sites (e.g. Facebook, You Tube, Twitter, Scribd)
        • provision of learning programs with digital technologies
        • integration of Twitter in its formal educational provision?
    10
  • Why ?
        • most popular micro-blogging service
        • research has shown that it can be used as an educational tool (Elavsky et al. 2011, Junco et al. 2010)
        • synchronous and asynchronous attributes
        • simple interface (web and iPhone application)
        • updates in users’ status in UK can be carried out using SMS
        • not a ‘distractive’ technology (?)
        • popular among museums
    11 © Guardian 9.3.2010
  • Methods for data collection 12 Pre - visit Visit Post - visit pre-test questionnaire individual meaning map online posts on Twitter classroom observation observation (notes, pictures, video) online posts on Twitter pictures/video by participants group audio files booklets post-test questionnaire individual meaning map individual videos (bus) online posts on Twitter classroom observation video collages on Vuvox interviews
  • Visit Plan
        • 8 groups in threes/fours
        • booklet
        • group inquiry
        • recorder with a microphone
        • iPhones (3G/3GS)
        • Twitter/TweetDeck and specific hashtags
    13 Gallery 1: Expanding City Gallery 2: People’s City Gallery 3: World City
  • Analysis and preliminary findings I. What do the numbers show? 14 Themes Number of tweets Context (posted in the museum or on the bus) 81 URL (in tweet) 14 Hashtag (in tweet) 31 Related to museum and its discourse 74 Related to the trip (issues/management/logistics) 11 Related to participants’ extracurricular activities/interests 1
  • I. What do the numbers show? 15 Category Type Task (according to trip’s aims/group’s inquiry) Social dimension Original Post Retweet Reply On task Off task N/A Us/we/our I/me N/A Number of tweets 74 1 9 55 25 4 20 6 58
  • II. What do the tweets show? 16
  • II. Map of the tweets 17
  • III. What do the participants say?
        • (Invisible) Interaction among participants
    18 “ when we saw the tweet about the carriage...we wanted to go and find it!” (Kevin)
  • III. What do the participants say?
        • (Invisible) Interaction among participants
    19 “ You know about the Black Panther? Cos when we were at the museum I tried to find it, I couldn’t find it...and then I saw the pictures and ‘Ohhhh, that’s what it is!’ So, then I learnt about this thing” (Nana)
  • III. What do the participants say? 20 This visit Past visits “ Normally when you go to museums, you just go to the museum, go around and you’re thinking ‘ it’s boring’ and spend so little time in each place is, like, really felt puzzled...” (Neil) “ ...it was a lot more enjoyable because it was really focused and you could actually learn about something...” (Neil) “ It was boring , really boring...we didn’t have much freedom, you were not allowed to go anywhere, to touch anything, to interact...” (Sara) “ ...compared to this museum you could learn in your own pace and you own way, more personal learning...and it was good to get your point across...” (Sara) “ [...]We were really into it...with that everyone stayed on target...” (Maria)
  • III. What do the participants say?
        • creating an ‘opinion space
    21
    • “ I like that...cos you go to see other people’s opinions...I mean, like, if you look at something, as I look at something, I see different things, so you can see how they interpret it .” (Nana)
    “ you answered some things on iPhone and other people got to read it, so they would faithful your opinion and faithful the difference ... (Maria) “ ...some people don’t have the confidence to put the hand up and talk about what they’ve seen. With the technology...I saw a lot of people write down some really good ideas and maybe the use of technology could help them get their point across” (Sara)
  • III. What do the participants say?
        • creating an ‘inter-connected space’
    22 [..] I like the fact that you were staying in touch with everyone , even though they were not there...People tweeting about what they were seeing and you kinda know what is there, without being there ...”(Nana) We were in groups, but I was feeling connected with other groups, so we were all sharing ideas over internet ...we were really into it...” (Maria)
  • III. What do the participants say?
        • ‘archive’ space
    23 “ Without technology you wouldn’t have remembered it and looking back at them when you can” (Sara)
  • (Preliminary) Findings
        • Social media tools may be used in museum learning:
        • for engaging students to participate and share their experiences
        • for facilitating interaction and negotiation of meaning
        • for enhancing the social dynamics of the visit and creating a collective experience
        • for documenting and archiving the experience
        • for enjoying the visit
    24
  • 25
  • Thank you!
    • [email_address]
    • @ch_koula
    26