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


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App Description

As you shake the iPad the seismometer app will detect movement on the Richter scale up to about a 5.5. It is also able to record the data to analyze later.

How we use it

How don’t we use it?

We have a model of tension building in a subduction zone. In the model there is a brick lined with sand paper on a track of sand paper. The brick is connected to a crank by a bungee cord.  We set the iPad on top of the brick and have the seismometer record the motion. We then slowly turn the crank. When enough tension builds the brick slides forward towards the crank and the movement is recorded by the seismometer app.

We have also used it to test our earth quake house, and to jump on bridges with visitors so that they can better understand why only so many people are allowed on them at one time.

Museum Recommending: Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Platform Used: iPad2 (iOS)
Cost: $0.99
Link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/seismometer/id288966259?mt=8
  1. June 25, 2012

    Ali Jackson

    We also use, and love this app at the Sciencenter! Typically our floor staff use this tool at our earthquake shake table. Visitors build simple structurs to see how long they’ll withstand an earthquake,. While building, they can record the motion as they change the earthquake “level.” We’ve found that, in this case, a smaller device, like an iPod Touch, actually works better than the iPad because visitors can more easily place the device on the table or even on the structures they build.

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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: