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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One of the most popular exhibits at the Sciencenter is our Honey Bee colony. As any museum with a hive knows, visitors love to check in on these busy little insects hard at work. For the 21-Tech project, we’ve harnessed our guest’s natural inclination to observe these animals by providing some extra prompts. A few found images from the internet make for an easy way to help answer visitor questions and show them some special behaviors. In the bee folder (under photos) on every iPad, we have pictures of swarms, full pollen baskets, queens, eggs, royal jelly, larvae, native plants, and more. We also use video to show-off unusual or special “bee-havior”, like slow-motion shots of bees collecting pollen, bee dances, and worker bees keeping the hive warm.


App Description: The free Antenna Farmer interactive magazine provides a few fun pages about feeding behavior, anatomy, flight, and beekeeping.

How We Use It: We use the pages in this app to encourage visitors to take a closer look at our bees and to help answer visitor questions. The photographs are high quality, and beautiful and the interactive features, though simple, are intuitive. We’ve even made a matching game out of the highlight-able guide to anatomy!

Museum RecommendingSciencenter
Platform Used: iPad iOS 5.0 or later
Cost: Free
LinkAntenna Farmer 

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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: