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

21-Tech Learnings

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Below are a few thoughts from Shabelee Bowie, a Discovery Guide from Children’s Museum of Houston who has moved on to pursue a different career path. However, before she left, she wanted to share her experience with 21-Tech and what she has learned: 

“What I’ve learned through 21-Tech has been that creativity exists through electronics. I didn’t grow up around too much technology, but I always enjoyed doing crafty things. 21-Tech is basically the “crafty” aspect of technology that the museum has brought in to engage the new generation. I refer to it as crafty because you can tangibly do something with it. Technology can be/has been used as a tool just like paper, scissors or string, to create an image. Through the many apps, I’ve learned that learning doesn’t only happen behind a school desk or in front of a PowerPoint screen, but it can happen through apps as well. It seems like using an iPad instead of a chalkboard can be a little more fun too. Oh wait…do these kids even know what a chalkboard is?

“What I struggled with in 21-Tech was being able to be creative through technology. I didn’t struggle with how to use the iPad or understanding the apps, but simply being able to sit down with a kid and navigate the iPad through an interaction was sometimes difficult for me. However, this is exactly where I learned that being creative through digital technology is possible.

“My advice for 21-Tech is to expand this program into the community. Inform families that technology isn’t just something you give to your kid when they’re having a fit in the store, but that it’s a great source for learning. If kids watch TV 24/7 or love to be on the iPad 24/7, there are educational games for them to engage in rather than playing mindless video games which can affect cognitive development, especially if exposed to at a very young age.”

~ Shabelee Bowie

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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: