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LearningTimes Announces Release of Museum Handheld Survey Results

The results of the 2009 Museum Handheld Survey are now available online.  Why do or don’t museums use handheld guides? How do museums perceive the medium’s future? What are the biggest challenges? And how can we improve knowledge sharing in this field? 

ABOUT THE SURVEY

Why do (or don’t) museums use handheld guides? How do we perceive the medium’s future? What are the biggest challenges in our way? And how can we improve knowledge share in this field? It’s on such questions that the Museum Handheld Survey is focused. The objective: a better collective understanding of the museum community’s use and ambitions with handheld guides and mobile interpretation.

The Survey was created by Loic Tallon and LearningTimes, with help from some fantastic colleagues.

Loic Tallon is creative director of Pocket-Proof, a digital consultancy specialized in the design, development and evaluation of all types of mobile interpretation tools and handheld guides. He is co-editor of one of the leading books in this field, Digital Technologies and the Museum Experience: Handheld Guides and Other Media (Alta Mira Press, 2008), has experience designing mobile systems for museums around the world, and has evaluated more mobile interpretation tools than he sometimes cares to remember!

LearningTimes produces unique online events, multi-day conferences and online learning programs for museums, education, non-profit and learning-minded organizations around the globe. Their partners and clients include groups like the Smithsonian Institution, American Association of Museums, American Association of State and Local History, the New York City Department of Education, the University of Hawaii, Education Development Center, Wiley / Jossey-Bass Publishing, and public television station WHYY, among scores of others. LearningTimes services include a variety of offerings that take an organization’s communication and collaboration goals online, with an emphasis on human connections, person-to-person interactivity and professional networking.

And the fantastic colleagues who provided ideas and input into the development of the survey include:

Michael Epstein & Silvia Vergani @ UntravelMedia, Nancy Proctor, Kate Haley Goldman, Matthew Petrie, Sara Bodinson, Sheila Carey, Sarah Eades, Halina Gottlieb, Susan Hazan, Sherry Hsi, Lynda Kelly, Pierre-Mary Thibault, and Pierre-Yves Lochon / CLIC.

WHY DID WE DEVELOP THE SURVEY?

The idea for the survey stemmed from conversations at a recent handheld guide conference – the 2009 Handheld Conference Online, organized by Learning Times – where we were struck by the museum community’s desire to foster further collaboration to share experiences and best practices on a national and international level. It was thus with the twin objectives of enhancing the international museum community’s understanding of where we are with handheld guides / mobile interpretation, and facilitating future knowledge sharing events, that this survey was initiated. We think the findings provide a fascinating insight into what we are all thinking, what we identify as the major obstacles in this field, and what the next steps should be in terms of developments and knowledge sharing.

WHO SHOULD COMPLETE THE SURVEY?

Anyone working with handheld guides and mobile interpretation, anywhere in the world. We’d love to hear from employees of all types of museums, cultural institutions, historic sites, zoos, etc., whether they have existing handheld programs or not. And we welcome multiple responses from the same museum – don’t feel like you have to see if someone else has ‘answered’ for your museum yet! And we also welcome responses from contractors, designers and consultants working in this field. The more responses we get, the clearer the picture we’ll be able to draw of the community’s use and ambitions with handheld guides / mobile interpretation.

WHAT ARE WE DOING WITH THE FINDINGS?

Publishing them online and sharing them, including the raw data. And we’re definitely not going to silo or sell the data as some sort of market intelligence. In fact, we’d be happy to send people the raw data so that they might participate in the data analysis. All that we ask is that you share your analyses back with the community. And at Learning Times, we’ll be using the information to develop new online professional development opportunities like the semi-annual Handheld Online Conference.


January 05, 2010  |   LearningTimes News

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