Immersed in Science: Learning in Today’s Digital Environments

November 16th, 2007 - Posted in 2007, Dimensions by Wendy Pollock

Dimensions coverIN THIS ISSUE
November/December 2007

In July/August 2006, ASTC Dimensions examined new social technologies—blogs, podcasts, wikis, RSS feeds, and other “Web 2.0″ communication tools that allow Internet users to personalize their online experiences. That was then; this is now. Moving past MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube, the buzz today is about immersive digital experiences, mixed realities, avatars, and the 3-D Web. Researchers document the benefits of video gaming and design “serious” games to support educational or therapeutic ends. In the multi-user online world Second Life, your custom-designed alter ego can visit a museum, take a class, view a webcast, or interview for a job. Seniors can’t get enough of digital brain games, second graders play Zoo Tycoon, and Nintendo’s whole-body Wii gaming console flies off the shelves. How does all of this relate to learning in science centers? In this issue, we’ll explore the new digital immersive technologies and learn how museums are using them to create experiences for the tech-savvy audiences of the 21st century.

CONTENTS
• Immersive Digital Interactives: An Emerging Medium for Exhibitions, by Eric Siegel
• Digital Games as Learning Platforms, by Heather Choy
• Magical Science: Evaluating the Impact of Immersive Exhibits, by Daniel Tan and Sharlene Anthony
From 2-D to 3-D Web: The Science Center in ‘Second Life,’ by Paul Doherty and Robert J. Rothfarb
• Embedding Virtual Reality in Exhibitions: A Perspective from Paris, by Marc Girard
• Digital Planetariums for Astronomy Education, by Ka Chun Yu and Kamran Sahami
• Virtual Reality and Immersive Environment Resources
• Changes in Attitudes: Designing for Visitor Expectations, by Nina Simon
• Otronicon: Celebrating Digital Media, by Jeff Stanford

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From 2-D to 3-D Web: The Science Center in Second Life

November 15th, 2007 - Posted in 2007, Dimensions by Wendy Pollock

Second Life residents, known as avatars, view the total solar eclipse streamed live by the Exploratorium on March 29, 2006. Image © The ExploratoriumBy Paul Doherty and Robert J. Rothfarb
From ASTC Dimensions
November/December 2007

Museums are already using 3-D visualization, animation, and even single-user virtual worlds in their real-world exhibits and programming. Why then go to the trouble of creating multi-user, online virtual spaces? Is there something about these social 3-D spaces that enables online visitors to experience science exhibits differently than via 2-D web sites and interactives?
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The Engaged Scientist: Fostering Successful Museum-Researcher Collaborations

September 24th, 2007 - Posted in 2007, Dimensions by Wendy Pollock

September/October 2007
IN THIS ISSUEASTC Dimensions cover September/October 2007

The IMLS-funded VolTS (Volunteers TryScience) project described in the September/October 2007 issue of ASTC Dimensions is a recent U.S. effort aimed at helping ASTC members forge better relationships with practicing scientists and engineers. But collaborations among content experts and museum educators are nothing new. Such partnerships date back to the founding of the field and continue to strengthen our institutions. Whether as museum volunteers or as partners in grant-funded projects, scientists and engineers welcome the chance to tell the public about their work and contribute to the goal of a “science-literate” society. In this issue, we share some examples of successful projects and examine the factors that make for success (or challenges) when two cultures—research science and informal science education—meet.

CONTENTS

• Where Science Meets the Public: Remembering the Founders of the Field, by Wendy Pollock
Content and Commitment: Insights from the VolTS Front-End Study, by Renee Miller
• A Passion for Public Engagement, by Eric Marshall
• In the Comfort Zone: Working with Scientists on Exhibition Design, by Sheila Grinell
• The Universe in a Cell: Partnering in a SEPA Project, by Roberta Cooks
• Better Communicators: Postdocs at the Exploratorium, by Kristin Abkemeier and Carolyn Sutterfield
• Portal to the Public: Bringing Scientists and the Public Together, by Lauren Russell and Dennis Schatz
• Making the Right Match: Four Approaches to Collaboration, by Theresa Mattei, Carolyn Sutterfield, Kathy Patterson, and Missy Miller
• Attracting Faculty: Getting Researchers Involved with a University Museum, by Beryl Rosenthal
• Spotlighting Research at Universum, by Cristina Heine

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Content and Commitment: Insights from the VolTS Front-End Study

September 24th, 2007 - Posted in 2007, Dimensions by Wendy Pollock

By Renee Miller
From ASTC Dimensions, September/October 2007

In November and December 2005, Randi Korn & Associates Inc. (RK&A) conducted a front-end study for the Volunteers TryScience (VolTS) project (see sidebar at end). The evaluators conducted and analyzed 26 in-depth telephone interviews with members of three groups:
• scientists and engineers who volunteer in educational programs outside of science centers
• scientists and engineers who currently volunteer in science centers
• science center staff who work with volunteers.
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Sound Around Us: The Audio Experience in Science Centers

August 3rd, 2007 - Posted in 2007, Dimensions by Wendy Pollock

July/August 2007
IN THIS ISSUE

July/August 2007 ASTC Dimensions

Researchers who study the human brain and nervous system continue to find connections between environmental sound (both ambient and organized) and behavioral and emotional response. Anthropologists and neuroscientists alike tell us that music has been and remains critical to the development and survival of our species. It seems that people are hard-wired to respond to the quality of sound around us. Yet the auditory environments of science centers do not always reflect that understanding. The July/August 2007 issue of ASTC Dimensions draws on research into acoustics, the brain, and learning, as well as current museum practice, to explore the effect of sound on human experience—with implications for the design of both exhibits and the larger museum environment.

CONTENTS

Wild Music: Making the Most of Sound in an Exhibition, by Wendy Pollock and J. Shipley Newlin
• Sound Advice: Acoustic Considerations for Exhibit Design, by Andrea Weatherhead
• Designed for Attentive Listening: Dealing with a Challenging Environment, by Eric Dimond
• Wired for Music: The Science of Human Musicality, by Donald A. Hodges
• Composing an Exhibition, by Philip Blackburn
• Heureka’s Music: Sound with a Sociocultural Perspective, by Mikko Myllykoski
• Science Sonatas: Listening to Data, by Stephen Pompea
• Sound Resources

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