The Open Authority spectrum, and finally a definition for engagement that I like
I’m listening to Lori Byrd talk about the Reggio Emilia learning model as a possible framework for implementing Open Authority in museums and similar institutions. I was struck by something she said that was a component of that model, which is that the teachers learn along with the students, rather than “dumbing down” the material. How amazing would it be for museums to interact with their communities in this way? Think of a curator looking at visitor interaction as a way of increasing his or her knowledge, rather than simply dispensing it. Yowza.
I’ve always had issues with the word “engagement”—I feel like we toss it around without really having a clear definition of what it means, but this model, to me, finally looks like what I think we really want when we use that word. I just wonder whether we have the courage to attempt it.
Security guards - our biggest untapped resource
A little miniature theme has emerged during the last few days at #mcn2013. I heard it first mentioned by Nancy Proctor yesterday (though I think she may have been quoting someone else—please let me know in the comments if this is true)—the gist of the idea is to give mobile devices to gallery attendants/security guards so that they can tweet what people say in the galleries and take pictures. This idea was echoed (unintentionally?) by David Hart from MoMA in his videobooth entry, who said that he feels that security guards are the least appreciated and most important (I’m paraphrasing) internal resource that museums have.
I love this idea, and it ties into a thread from the digital strategy session about integration of technology efforts into overall museum activities. When we think about how to roll products out to our public, we so rarely think about gallery attendants as a likely “front line” for these efforts. The idea that these folks could literally be our eyes and ears in new efforts is something that we should really explore more.
Carolyn Royston hits on something really important—we need to look at hiring salaries in a more holistic way. You CAN pay fair rates, but you have to be willing to cut away non-productive activities to compensate. And we in museums don’t do well with figuring out what activities are no longer producing real returns. We tend to not have mechanisms in place for identifying these activities, much less doing anything with that information if we had it.
I dunno—I still bristle a bit at the way we use the term “digital.” It feels so temporal and limiting. It’s a way of referring to things that we’ll laugh about in a few years (as in, remember when everything was “cyber”-whatever?). I guess it mostly bothers me because there’s an inherent limiting to it—as if janitors were called the “broom department.”
Listening to anyone recap Star Wars is great. When it’s Tracy Morgan, it’s even better.
Incredibly impressive interactive dynamic display which demonstrates potential possibilities working with adaptive form both locally and remotely - video embedded below:
inFORM is a Dynamic Shape Display that can render 3D content physically, so users can interact with digital information in a tangible way. inFORM can also interact with the physical world around it, for example moving objects on the table’s surface. Remote participants in a video conference can be displayed physically, allowing for a strong sense of presence and the ability to interact physically at a distance. inFORM is a step toward our vision of Radical Atoms: tangible.media.mit.edu/vision/