Bridging Documents have become the linchpin in our 21-Tech Facilitation Training Program at the Children’s Museum of Houston. (example: CMH_21-Tech_Ricochet_BridgingDoc)
When the 21-Tech project really geared up in April 2011, we at the Children’s Museum of Houston conducted a lot of prototyping with various apps and other resources with our floor facilitation staff, Discovery Guides. Some days the Discovery Guides were given anywhere from 3-10 apps, several websites, articles from Simplepedia, videos, photos and multimedia presentations to use as facilitation tools. Our time table allowed for about 15 minutes of discussion of the exhibit content, 15-20 minutes of iPad exploration with the resources, 45 minutes of time on the floor for visitor interactions and then 15 minutes to debrief about things that worked well and those that didn’t and why. What we began to realize was that we were giving the Discovery Guides far too much to absorb in too short a time frame.
From this realization we began to formulate the “Bridging Document,” a piece that connects the physical exhibit to the tablet resources. Each Bridging Document highlights one exhibit activity, such as our Gears Table. The document is broken into many different parts. The first is Exhibit Content Focus, which highlights the main points of the activity. This often includes key words, scientific concepts, and other important information that a facilitator would need to know in order to interact with a group effectively.
The next section, Related Apps, lists the apps that a Discovery Guide can use to help a family have a more personalized learning experience. It includes a picture of the app icon, a description of the app, how the app relates to the exhibit content, and helpful hints about the app.
Other sections of the Bridging Documents include: additional information and resources, challenges, and other extensions of the activity. The additional information and resources is usually found in the form of a website links that a Discovery Guide can use to enhance their own knowledge of a topic or concept. A challenge is a verbal prompt or question a Discovery Guide can use to extend and deepen the learning. Other extensions could be videos, photos, and other websites and activities that could be suggested to a family or group to enable them to extend the learning at home.
You will find examples of Bridging Documents attached to this post as well as App Reviews from the Children’s Museum of Houston.