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

Inventor’s Workshop and iMotion HD

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At the Children’s Museum of Houston, the Inventor’s Workshop is a facilitated workshop space to engage visitors in creative thinking, design and invention skills. The Inventor’s Workshops run through the entire day but the average time for the activity per visitor group is 40 minutes. This summer we had a Stop-Motion Animation workshop using the iMotion HD app on the iPad. Earlier we used laptops and eyeball webcams to create stop-motion animation but now we have been using iPads for the past year. The objective of the workshop was making an animated story through creative use of technology, as done in stop motion animated film Wallace and Gromit. It also involved brainstorming ideas, taking pictures, designing characters and backdrop scenes that supported the animated storytelling process.

The iPad was fixed to the desk using a clamp holder. Our facilitators created two cardboard backdrops – a city scene and an ocean scene. There were two workstations where visitors could create figurines and other necessary components for their story using a variety of materials like paper cups, pipe cleaners, foam, popsicle sticks, spoons, markers etc. There were few animal figurines already available, but the rest of the characters had to be created by the visitors (mostly children) at the character creating stations.

As the visitors arrived on a first come first serve basis for the workshop, they were shown a movie made using stop motion animation feature of iMotion HD. The facilitators explained what stop motion meant and demonstrated how to use iMotion HD to take pictures, edit and create an animated movie.  Then the visitors were sent to the character creating stations. The movie has to have 12 frames per second to create a second of stop-motion animation therefore the visitors need to take around 60-70 pictures for their animation. So the facilitators also encouraged the visitors to storyboard their ideas for the movie. Thereafter the visitors shot pictures of their scenes moving the characters with each shot using the iMotion HD iPad. The pictures were then edited and organized to produce the animation. The facilitators exported the completed movie to YouTube or emailed it to the visitors. The only issue that arose during the workshop was towards the end because WiFi was slow in the Invention Convention area where the workshop takes place. Therefore the emails with video attachments took a long time to be sent. We need to figure out a more effective way of sharing the videos with visitors.

Overall this workshop proved to be very successful. The museum is now looking to making this workshop into an actual component of the museum rather than just a temporary activity. Please give you inputs on how you have used iMotion HD in novel ways and if you have suggestions to help us make better use of this cool app!

Stop Motion Animation Summer Tabletop Descriptor
(Courtesy: Mr. Will Rice, Director of Gallery Programs, CMH)

Example of Stop Motion Animation

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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: