Workshop—A New Reality: Emerging Technologies for Your Visitors


ASTC partnered with Saint Louis Science Center to present a two-day workshop, Thursday–Friday, May 3–4, exploring both the possibilities and the challenges faced when integrating emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and robotics into informal education programs and exhibitions.

Inspiration on the Cutting Edge

Participants try out technologies they can implement for under $1,000.

During this hands-on workshop, participants

  • Explored ways that technology is being used to enhance the visitor experience at different cultural institutions in St. Louis.
  • Heard from informal education researchers who are studying the effects of technology on learning.
  • Discovered how partnering with local startup companies can bring new technologies and attract new audiences.
  • Considered solutions to some of the barriers around adding “new tech” to programs and exhibitions.

The focus of this event was on both practical “how-tos” and the ethical and philosophical implications of bringing emerging technologies to your visitors. A showcase of tech innovations that participants can implement at their institutions for under $1,000 was another key take-away.

Offsite explorations included attending Venture Café, a weekly event in St. Louis’s Cortex Innovation Community that attracts new and existing members of the innovation community. Some participants also chose to extend their experience into the evening First Friday festival at the science center, joining colleagues and tech-inquisitive St. Louis citizens for Movie Magic, the first St. Louis Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Festival!

About the Speakers

Visiting the Saint Louis Zoo to discover new ways of utilizing emerging technology.

Chad Lane

H. Chad Lane is an associate professor of educational psychology and informatics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on the design, use, and impacts of intelligent technologies for informal learning. He has more than 70 publications in a variety of areas, including intelligent tutoring, educational games, immersive technologies, and narrative-based learning environments. Lane has ongoing collaborations with The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis; the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami; and the Glasgow Science Centre in Scotland. He has collaborated in the past with the Museum of Science, Boston, and The Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, California. His doctorate is in computer science from the University of Pittsburgh (2004), and prior to joining the University of Illinois, he spent ten years as a research scientist at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies.

Keith Miller

Keith W. Miller holds a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in mathematics, and a doctorate in computer science. He taught computer science for many years, and is now a member of the College of Education at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Miller has hundreds of papers, presentations, and invited talks that he has authored or co-authored. As the Orthwein Endowed Professor for Lifelong Learning in the Sciences, he is working with the Saint Louis Science Center and other community partners to inspire students from “K to grey” to becoming engaged with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Miller’s research areas include computer ethics, online education, and software testing.

If you have any questions about the workshop, please let me know.






Wendy Hancock is ASTC’s Senior Program Manager, Professional Development.