Museum learning via social and mobile technologies: (How) can online interactions enhance the visitor experience?

Charitonos, Koula; Blake, Canan; Scanlon, Eileen and Jones, Ann (2012). Museum learning via social and mobile technologies: (How) can online interactions enhance the visitor experience? British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(5) pp. 802–819.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01360.x

Abstract

Key to introducing information and communication technologies in museums is to support meaning making activity in encounters with artefacts. The study presented in this paper is exploratory in nature and investigates the use of social and mobile technologies in school field trips as a means of enhancing the visitor experience. It is anchored in sociocultural perspectives of learning as meaning making, with a focus on mediating artefacts in the development of understanding. The Museum of London (MoL) was selected as the site of the study and the participants were a Year 9 History class (13-14 years olds) in a secondary school in Milton Keynes. The paper considers evidence of meaning making from students’ online posts on Twitter (http://twitter.com) and activity on-site. Observational data, the visit’s Twitter stream and post-visit interview data with the participants are presented and analysed. A mixed-method approach is employed to interpret the museum visit and examine young people’s experience in the museum. Such an approach allows useful insights and shapes the understanding of how social and mobile technologies have an impact on the social dynamics of a school trip to a museum. Specifically, it explains the role of such tools in fostering the social interactions around museum artefacts and ultimately the process of shared construction of meaning making.

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