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

Who is this app for?

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As we’ve continued to refine and add content to our prototype app, we’ve been thinking a lot about who’s going to be using the app.

We tend to think of our core audience in the Curiosity Corner exhibition as our members and we designed the content to extend the interaction and learning happening at those exhibit components between children and their caregivers. In our early evaluations, we heard from some members that while the tips and resources are helpful, they already feel like they know this exhibit really well and they’d rather have an app for areas of the museum that they know less well.

Who are these apps most useful to at your institutions?

  1. January 28, 2016

    Rizwan

    Ali, I can understand the members reaction since they are well aware of this particular exhibit. The observation I have done with More CMH app concluded with both member and first-time visitors finding things that is helpful to them. For example, member usually tend to explore and spend most of your time on Do this at Home, Dig Deeper, and Fun Facts categories. On the other hand, first-time visitors spend most of their time on What Do I Do and Try This categories. If time permits, first-time visitors also check out other areas of the component in the app.

  2. February 26, 2016

    Sean Rooney

    Hey Ali, I agree this is an important question to ask. It’s one that we have been curious about here at OMSI and the testing over the past several months have helped us to see it more clearly.
    We have had the same experience that Rizwan from CMH mentions above; therefore, we focused content mostly on two groups, people that were familiar with OMSI (members) and those not familiar with OMSI (non-members.)
    One other interesting note is nearly always the parents are the users of the app, and interpreting it for the children. Therefore, when creating text content we kept that in mind, and used language that would work well for an adult. However, when creating audio or video content, we applied it to all ages, with the thinking that the adult would show the child, which often happens.

  3. February 29, 2016

    Ali Jackson

    Hi Sean and Rizwan,

    Thanks for your comments! I’ll just echo that for us, in particular, the key audience is definitely parents and caregivers of the young children who frequent the Curiosity Corner. I like the suggestion to think of the photos (and videos if we had them) as being for a wider audience.

    Thanks,
    Ali

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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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