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

21-Tech from a Facilitator’s perspective

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Jessica Castillo is a Senior Explainer at NYSCI and has been working closely with 21-Tech. Here is a cartoon she came up with in regards to her thoughts about the 21-Tech project.

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Using portable devices does enhance the experience of visitor interactions. In case there are questions we don’t have the answer to, we can use the internet from the device in order to find an answer. Then there are some apps that can be used to explain certain concepts to visitors; so we are able to re-emphasize these concepts from the exhibits so the visitor can retain them. And since these apps are available to anyone, it is likely that visitors will try it at home or teachers to use in a classroom.

The only issues I see are that there aren’t many apps currently that can be used as such a tool. For instance, an app may be able to sense vibrations but it shows no measurement so it’s hard to use for experiments. It’s also possible for the device itself to become the focus of the interaction, thereby missing the exhibit itself. So we just need to find good apps or perhaps even create our own. Then we need to practice to use the devices as support tools for the exhibits.

All in all, 21 Tech does provide a new way for interacting with visitors. And it does it in such a way that visitors can relate to and even take with them wherever they go.

~Jess C

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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: