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

Tinkering with Technology: Part 1

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This brief is the first in a series from OMSI Senior Educator, Kristin Bayans, on how iPads are used in demos and classes for the Technology Lab.



Demos (hands on facilitated small group activity):

Little BitsLittle Bits pieces are spread out upon a desk. The iPad is propped up on the desk next to the facilitator and cued to the Little Bits website.

The iPad serves three functions in this scenario. One, to provide a related ancillary activity for the visitor in the party not actively engaged with the Little Bits. This visitor, often a parent, may choose to watch the Little Bit’s founding director’s TED talk. The talk last approximately 5 minutes, and is played on a subtitled loop. Secondly, it allows visitors to look up more information on the Little Bits parts and purchasing locations. Thirdly, it allows the facilitator to change up the activity by referencing facilitation techniques posted to the Little Bits website.



iPad is another entry point into the demo.

iPad is a handy and quick reference material.


Facilitator has to keep an eye on the device while performing the demo.

Facilitator has to cue the TED talk every 5 minutes.



Science + Art: Stop Motion Animation- Five iPads are set upon the floor and cued to Stop Motion Studio App ($0.99). Here, iPads are the main vehicle for class participation. Students set up scenes and shoot still photographs with the app to create a 24 frame per second and a 14 frame per second stop motion animated movie. Students watch each other’s movies at the end of the class period.


App has a short learning curve.

App has the ability to export movie to social media or email (take home).


Need a stand to hold iPad while shooting still photographs.

Screen is not extremely sensitive to pressure, maybe a software issue with the app.




  1. February 26, 2013

    Neelam Damani

    Great post! I’ve never experimented with the Stop Motion Studio app, so will definitely look into it. Have you tried the iMotion HD app? It’s free, easy to use, and has a great “onion skin” feature to help align images (especially helpful if using the iPad without a clamp or stand).

  2. February 28, 2013

    Sean Rooney

    Thanks, the post is really from Kristin Bayans. She is the facilitator for our Technology Lab, and she does a great job incorporating the iPad into many of her reserved lab programs. She’s tried a few stop motion apps, but settled on Stop Motion Studio; however, I don’t think she tried iMotionHD, so I’ll pass it along. Stay tuned for more, she’ll have other blog posts about using the iPad in lab programs.

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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: