My name is Janavia Washington. I am a Discovery Guide (DG) at the Children’s Museum of Houston. When the idea of using an iPad for visitor interaction was brought to my attention, honestly, I wasn’t too thrilled. There was so much confusion among myself and other DGs as well. I had thoughts like: “I’m not very good with technology,” or “What if I get in trouble for using the internet,” or “How will I ever learn to use these apps?” Once the DGs began communicating their concerns with the 21-Tech Managers, and they with us, things were more clearly understood.
The most helpful thing for me in using the iPad was a time set aside specifically for playing with the iPad. That’s how I got a chance to familiarize myself with the tool, such as location of apps, how they work, and what happens if I accidentally press a random button (I’m always doing that. Lol!).
Next, I began to try apps by brainstorming and then testing how I can interact with children. Once I got the hang of it, I was more than excited to use my new tool as a learning aid, especially for those awkward moments when I walk up to a child and ask if they want to play, and they look at me like I have cooties. It’s so great to watch their faces change, as they turn around from a “No, where’s my mommy?” to “Sure! What’s that?”
In addition, I find myself referring to it so much that I sometimes look for an iPad at home, and then remember that I don’t have one (that’s still funny to me!). 21-Tech helps make my job so much easier from “Match the Mommy” animal games (via the Sound Touch app) to references like “How to Solve a Rubics Cube.” I love 21-Tech! 😀