The 21-Tech initiative has allowed me as a Discovery Guide to push myself further on how much information I can process and share with each visitor I encounter.- Odis Garrett, Children’s Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech is a bridge between our museum guides and the visitors in that it creates connections between educational concepts and the real world.- Shawn Waxali, Children’s Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech has helped Discovery Guides engage visitors by extending their experience through the apps and applying it to the exhibits.- Ian Tibby, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech is a way of ‘hiding the vegetables in the fruit’ where the kids do not realize they are learning, but instead having fun and being fed knowledge that intrigues their minds.- Lauren Bell, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech provides a new outlet for our Discovery Guides to interact with the visitors in a way that further enhances their experience and makes the visit overall extra enjoyable.- Sylvia Garcia, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide

How do your staff engage visitors?

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Check out a Sciencenter volunteer Blue Coat as she explains her method for engaging visitors:

21-Tech Five-Step Process

One model for a successful staff/visitor interaction follows a basic five-step process:

  1. Observe/invite: “Come see what I have going on over here…”
  2. Ask probes/questions: “Tell me about (the exhibit)”,“What do you think is going on?” Ask questions to create an interaction and let visitors talk.
  3. Connect: Connect what’s going on or what they see going on in the physical exhibit to content and apps on iPad.
  4. Explain/play: Play with iPad or original exhibit, and explain the main message of the exhibit and how the content on the iPad relates.
  5. Make it real: Help visitors apply what they’re learning to more general information or life context.

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Project Brief

21-Tech partners study and share the effective use of Personal Mobile Technologies (PMTs) by gallery facilitators in their work with visitors. The initial three years (2011-2013) of 21-Tech are funded in large part by a 21st Century Museum Professionals award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project is led by the Children’s Museum of Houston in partnership with Lawrence Hall of Science, New York Hall of Science, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and Sciencenter. For more information, please visit the About page.

Major funding provided by:

Additional support provided by: