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

Choosing content

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One of the purposes of XCL is to see if people will use a museums app and if so, what kinds of content.  We decided to try any and everything we could think of to see what worked and what didn’t.

  • How to content showing how to use the exhibit.
  • Challenges and things to try at exhibit. Ways to use exhibits visitors may not have thought to try.
  • Answers to questions related the exhibit and the science associated with it. Why did it do that?  How does it work?  Newton’s 3rd Law?  Science?
  • Real Life applications of exhibits science. Showing there IS a point to knowing this stuff.
  • Things to try doing yourself at home. Liked the exhibit?  Make something like it at home!
  • Ways for different types of groups (families, large groups, adults only, etc.) to explore OMSI. Ways to explore for the newest visitor to the oldest pro.
  • Information about OMSI (hours, rates, events, additional options, etc.). Info people can use.
  • Videos, pictures, and audio. To augment written content.
  • Scavenger Hunt(s). Get the group to find random fun things in the museum.
  • Make a video competition. For people who think they can do better than us!

Details about how we implemented these ideas and how well they worked will be discussed in future posts!

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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: