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

App: The Elements

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App Description: The Elements is based on the book of the same name by Theodore Gray. It is an interactive Periodic Table of the Elements, complete with interactive images showing examples of each of the elements including related products (Note: you can purchase stereoscopic visors separately to use an option to see the images in 3D). It also tells a quick story about each element as well as displays relevant data about the element (atomic number, atomic mass, density, electronegativity, etc.) and a more extensive properties list utilizing a link to WolframAlpha (Internet connection required).

How We Use It: We have found this app capable of being adapted to a number of situations, primarily as a content facilitation tool. In our Super Small Matter Lab, a space dedicated to exposing our visitors to concepts of nanoscale science, we use it to discuss carbon in relation to fullerenes/Buckeyballs, carbon nanotubes, and graphene sheets. The app content has also been incorporated into facilitated activities exploring properties of matter in our Science Station. Finally, we have installed an iPad2 connected to a television with the app running as a part of our Matter Factory exhibit, allow visitors the opportunity to explore the Periodic Table of the Elements in a rather unique fashion.

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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: