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

Pocket Heart 2

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App Description: This medical app presents a 3-D model of a heart with realistic visuals and audio to teach the anatomy and functions of the heart. The model is animated, and can be rotated and enlarged to see the various parts. It even “pumps” like an actual heart. The app has comprehensive information on the cardiac physiology. The pins on the heart provide information about every aspect of the heart including chambers, arteries, blood vessels and veins. Both the exterior as well as interior of the heart can be seen by clicking on either option. In addition, the app also shows the flow of blood and electrical signals of the heart.

How We Use It: At the Children’s Museum of Houston, we use this app in the Power Science Lab in Power Play for any activity that involves the functions of a heart. Often there are activities such as model of a heart, how fat affects the arteries, how the blood flows, what happens to blood in clogged arteries etc. This app can illustrate all of these concepts.

Our facilitators use this app as an extension of the Power Science Lab activities to show a 3-D visual of what the heart looks like and how it functions. The visual model shows kids how the heart beats, and starts a discussion about what their own hearts must look like. The Outreach Program at the Children’s Museum of Houston uses this app with middle school students as a visual reference before creating their own heart model (See Educational Outreach reaches new levels with iPads).

Lastly, the pins in the app point to the different parts of the heart and their related information. The app’s Glossary provides key vocabulary terms involved in the anatomy of the heart such as names of major veins, arteries, ventricles, chambers etc. This can be followed by using an actual heart model to identify the parts learned from the app. However, keep in mind the age and cognitive level of the child before introducing complex medical terminology to them.

Museum RecommendingChildren’s Museum of Houston
Platform Used: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.
Cost: $9.99
Link: Pocket Heart 2

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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: