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

iWash My Dogs/Cats

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App Description: These apps teach you the step-by-step method of grooming your pet dog or cat. Using either of the apps, children can follow and learn the essential steps of grooming a pet animal by soaping, rinsing, drying and brushing his hair. Children can also learn what grooming tools are required to follow each of these steps. There are a number of different breeds of cats and dogs in the app. By shaking the iPad you can switch to the next pet in line to be groomed.These are simple yet enjoyable apps that work with any age group.

How we use it: At the Children’s Museum of Houston, we use these apps in the Kidtropolis Vet Clinic. In the Vet Clinic, children are able to get a job as a Veterinarian, Groomer, and Vet Assistant to meet the needs of the vet “patients”. Working as a veterinarian or veterinarian’s assistant, children are able to care for the pet animals by reading their charts,diagnosing their ailments, weighing them and viewing their x-rays. As a groomer, they can bathe, dry, brush and style the pets. These experiences allow them to have a better understanding of the roles these community members play in contributing to society.

Our facilitators engage the children by using the app to relate to real-life experience. Some of the questions they ask the children before the interaction are:

  • Do you have a pet? Have you ever seen a pet being groomed?
  • How do you get ready for school? What do you do first? The facilitators encourage answers that involve a step-by-step routine.They use the app to show how grooming a pet also involves steps.

After going through the grooming routine on the app, the child gets to practice the same routine on one of the pet animals in the Vet Clinic. The facilitators also discuss the tools required for grooming and if children can identify some of them in the clinic. In addition, you can role-play for some of the tools that are not available. What else can you use if you don’t have a certain grooming tool such as a dryer? Furthermore, the app can be used as a test to ‘employ’ new groomers for the clinic. If the children can successfully complete the grooming routine, then they are hired as groomers and receive the Kidtropolis paycheck for their work.

Museum RecommendingChildren’s Museum of Houston
Platform Used: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later
Cost: $0.99; Full extended version: $1.99
Link: iWash My Dogs Lite & iWash My Cats Lite

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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: