Providing Museum Access to All Through Open Badging

Thursday, December 03, 2015 Comment outside museum and city landscape

When the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) a few years ago announced it was doing away with museum membership (gasp!), it made big news. Its membership was replaced with an open-badging system called DMA Friends, open to visitors, new and old. I recently contacted Robert Stein, DMA’s deputy director to learn more about DMA Friends, how it empowers visitors, and the ways museum officials analyze the resulting big data to better serve their city. Hi Rob. Please introduce yourself and the Dallas Museum of Art. I’m Robert Stein. The DMA has been in Dallas for 112

How Games Transform Museum Experience

Monday, October 12, 2015 Comment group of students playing computer games at museum

Officially, James Collins is the Digital Media Project Manager at the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, working across all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, and the National Zoo. But, to me, as someone deeply interested in how games can transform museum visitor experiences, he’s the right guy in the right place at the right time. His email sig reads “Games are a series of interesting choices.” Yup, the guy I want to speak with. I ran into James recently at the Serious Play Conference in Pittsburgh and we sat down to explore his

How a Digital Pen is Turning a Museum into a Library

Thursday, June 25, 2015 Comment wall projection poster of digital pen being used in museum person holding pen

Right now, in New York City, a digital pen is turning a museum into a library — a 21st century library, that is. And, its potential impact across civic and cultural spaces offers considerable lessons for those interested in participatory and digital learning and the future of museums. If, like me, you work in a museum you’ve probably already guessed what I am talking about, as it’s all the buzz: the newly renovated Cooper-Hewitt’s Pen. The Cooper-Hewitt is the Smithsonian’s design museum located in NYC within the stately Andrew Carnegie Mansion. After a six-year renovation project,

Augmented Wearables and the Future of Museums

Thursday, March 05, 2015 Comment wearables man wearing virtual reality headset pointing at living room covered in minecraft buildings

Wired’s recent cover article, “Microsoft in the Age of Satya Nadella,” is a fascinating piece about how the software giant is aiming to reposition itself to remain dominant in the next operating system revolution. They missed the boat when the rest of us migrated from desktops to mobile devices but, this time, their sights are focused on the next potential disruptor: augmented reality wearables. And, Microsoft’s unanticipated new play in this space was announced in January: Project HoloLens. The article rightly grouped HoloLens with Google Glass, Oculus Rift and the largely-unknown Magic Leap. It’s hard to

Defining Digital Media, Museum-based Learning Connection

Monday, September 29, 2014 Comment people gathering around dinosaur at museum

Clive Thompson is a longtime contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired. I recently had the opportunity to bring him to my office in the American Museum of Natural History, tour the dino halls, and explore how his new book — “Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing our Minds for the Better” — can help us understand how digital media can support museum-based learning (read full interview). At the end of our tour, we explored what his book has to say about Connected Learning and work funded by

Badges For Learning Series, Part 3: A Case Against Standardized Badges

Thursday, June 05, 2014 Comment group of students working together on ipad in classroom

In my first two posts in this series (“My Beef With Badges” and “Getting the Full Picture”), I called on the emerging badging community to stop conflating our aspirations with our achievements and then modeled one way to share a more accurate picture of the challenges we all face. In this post, I would like to address my challenges with a vision often shared for digital badges, namely the creation of a broad badging ecosystem. Amongst those like me who aspire to see the flourishing of robust badging systems, to capture and reflect the rich learning

Both Sides of the Screen: Museums Seeking Balance in a Digital Age

Thursday, July 11, 2013 Comment 2 young people taking photo of digital screen projection on museum wall

Museums, like many public sites of informal learning, are struggling to understand the roles digital media can play within their walls. In short, are they an obstacle to engagement or a new path to knowledge? I recently saw both ideas reflected in popular media and the experience left me hoping for a third path between the two extremes. There’s a New Yorker cartoon, published this past March, that shows a mother and child in a museum, the child pointing a device towards a painting. “It’s an audio guide, sweetheart,” the mother explains, “not a remote.” The

The Latest in Digital Media, Learning and Museums

Wednesday, March 06, 2013 Comment 3 kids looking through ipads at museum exibit taking pictures

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project published a recent report after surveying the role of the internet and social media within arts organizations that have received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. They found that “the internet, social media, and mobile connectivity now permeate their operations and have changed the way they stage performances, mount and showcase their exhibits, engage their audiences, sell tickets, and raise funds.” Some interesting findings: 77% of respondents agree with the statement that the internet has “played a major role in broadening the boundaries of what