21-Tech

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

Simple tips about iPad interactions

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I have noticed that sometimes a few of our newer Discovery Guides here at the Children’s Museum of Houston can feel a bit of anxiety and apprehension when approaching our visitors with iPads. Well, not to worry. I will be offering a few tricks that will make the interaction between kids, families, and iPad users easier and much more enjoyable. When approaching a child or visitor, I find it best to be able to go up to that child and start a casual conversation. Simple questions such as, “What is your name?” or “What are you working on?” work just fine. Keep in mind that sometimes when you approach a family, the parents may tend to stay back and let their child experiment and examine the activities that we have in our galleries on their own.  Once you’ve started a casual conversation and you get the gist of what the child is trying to do, depending on the gallery, you then bring out the iPad and introduce an app that best fits the activity that you will be using. Remember, it’s not about forcing the iPad onto the visitor; it’s about the interaction and learning process. In fact, it is also a great opportunity to involve that family member in the interaction!

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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.

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