Posted by M.Jeff on | November 9, 2010 | 1 Comment
I am prolific note-taker and thought I’d post some of my reflections from the recent Museum Computer Network Annual Conference in Austin, Texas, October 27-30. I’m sharing all my notes (I took about 15 pages), but wanted to at least share some of the key points I gathered from the different sessions I attended. Remember too that this is the way I interpreted the sessions, so please post comments and share ideas. Especially if you disagree with my findings!!! Sharing is how we learn from each other. Here goes:
Summary of Key Findings:
- Infrastructure is Key. We can’t have programs emphasizing different technologies unless we have the bandwidth, reception and connectivity to support. This is Issue Number One.
- Technology programs are not intuitive. People don’t know how to jump right in and use the technologies we are developing for them. This is Issue Number Two.
- Are we developing products people want? There seems to be a discrepancy between what visitor research is telling us and what we are actually producing. Mobile lends itself to spontaneity and social behavior, but creating a specific tour program seems to directly conflict with these opportunities.
- Using vague descriptions of “technology” scare people because they are unknown. Emphasizing specific technologies, like QR codes, social networks, apps, video production, etc are concrete examples of use and specific applications.
- Our role as staff working with Educational Technologies is to increase curatorial opportunities to develop interactions between visitors and content.
- Common navigation of programs is virtually non-existent. Every different app and program seems designed in a vacuum from others so there is little chance of creating some kind of common navigational behavior.
- Programs are not cross-platform. Websites are the closest thing to widely distributed access, but in-gallery programs seem to emphasize I-phones. This limits the number of people we are connecting with. Some museums are trying the distributed-technologies approach (handing our I phones at the VIARC desk), but programs should really be using the technologies people already have. If you hand it out, be prepared on-site to fix it and explain how it works!
- New technologies being developed encourage visitor interaction and self-directed research, which means incorrect answers are part of the process. We need to do a better job of facilitating visitor interactions and being able to help them take more ownership of the experience in a productive manner.