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

Groups vs. Family Visitors

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During the initial phases of this project, my colleagues and I became interested in seeing how the experience of using apps on the museum floor with groups vs families would differ? We were also considering whether or not different facilitating strategies were needed when using the app with these audiences. With respect to the camp or school groups, we had a majority of situations where the camp group stood with the explainer for an extended period of time and this experience even evolved to a mini-tour. One thing I did notice as an observer was the fact that when the group was relatively large (8-10 kids at one exhibit), 1-2 kids would leave only to be replaced by other students from the same group.

In terms of dealing with our visitors who came in a family group setting, we notice a very similar experience. A majority were engaged to the point where they would follow the explainer to another nearby exhibit which began a mini-tour format. One of the major differences is that the family group would stay all together for the whole experience. The smaller sized audience allowed for everyone to participate.

As we progress with this project, we really look forward to explore this topic a bit more and see if further development of facilitating strategies is needed. We would love to get your insights and experience on this topic as well!


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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: