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Museum Exhibition Research: A didactic perspective

Presentation for Museum Education Research Doctoral Course, SDU, March 13-15 2013
by

Marianne Achiam

on 12 March 2013

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Transcript of Museum Exhibition Research: A didactic perspective

What are the affordances of exhibit genres? RESEARCH FRAMEWORK Museum Exhibition Research From a didactics perspective Marianne Achiam, University of Copenhagen
Museum Education Research Doctoral Course
SDU - Denmark - 13-15 March 2013 What is a didactics perspective? How is science transformed into an exhibit? How is science acquired by visitors to an exhibit? How can exhibit design be optimized? What influences the creation
of exhibits? Didactique The study, design, and analysis of teaching-learning phenomena in relation to a well-defined (science) content Didaktik The study and development of domain- or subject-specific learning processes (in the sciences) France Germany The learner's (visitor's) experiences and outcomes The medium and the content it represents/embodies The scientific content The minimal unit of analysis is not just how the learner learns, but must include the process that makes an object of teaching from an object of knowledge to be taught Learner acquires science Science embodied in exhibit Science content Science content:
The adaptations of blind cave beetles to their habitat of permanently dark caves Immersion exhibit:
Science content embodied in artificial cave for visitors to experience - on their own bodies - how the cave beetle is adapted Biological content The cave beetle habitat is an interconnected network of spaces which range from 1 mm to 20 mm in width The notion of "cave" (Howarth, 1983) " Museographic form A three-dimensional scale model of an existing world, that the visitor can step into and immerse themselves in The notion of "cave" (Belaën, 2003) " Immersion exhibit Artificial, darkened cave with clear entrance and exit, rock-like structure and curved passage-way The notion of "cave" Biological content Cave beetles are preyed upon by other larger arthropods such as millipedes, spiders, and larger beetles. The notion of "predator" (Solodovnikov, 2008) " Museographic form The dramatisation of the content is driven by characters and conflict (Belaën, 2003; Damiano et al. 2005) " Immersion exhibit 1:1 models of tarantula spiders on the walls for visitors to find by touch The notion of "predator" The notion of "predator" Biological content Cave beetles are characterised by having very long legs and antennae, which indicate special development of the chemical and tactile senses "Elongated antennae" (Crowson, 1981) " Museographic form The visitor is integrated in the world of the exhibit by being given a role to play (Belaën, 2003) " Immersion exhibit Blind person's walking stick to simulate elongated limbs "Elongated antennae" "Elongated antennae" Conclusion The exhibit is shaped in a dialectic between science content and museographic form Museographic form Immersion exhibit Visitor to exhibit Type of Task Technique Technology What is the task or assignment that we perceive in our environment? How do we accomplish that task in practice? How do we explain our actions? This is how the cave beetle navigates... by touch! PRAXEOLOGY (Chevallard 1991) Type of Task Technique Technology Intended
praxeology Realised
praxeology What the designers intend the visitors to do and think What the visitors actually do and think = Type of Task Technique Technology Type of Task Technique Technology Intended praxeology (intended by designers of exhibit) Type of Task Technique Technology Type of Task Technique Technology Type of Task Technique Technology Experience how the cave beetle is adapted to its habitat of dark caves Experience what it is like to be blind and to live in caves Realised praxeology (realised by visitor to exhibit) Biological content Cave beetles are characterised by having very long legs and antennae, which indicate special development of the chemical and tactile senses "Elongated antennae" (Crowson, 1981) " Museographic form The visitor is integrated in the world of the exhibit by being given a role to play (Belaën, 2003) " Immersion exhibit Blind person's walking stick to simulate elongated limbs "Elongated antennae" "Elongated antennae" Safety issue Exhibition Museum Society Exhibit e.g. convergent evolution e.g. evolution e.g. natural history museum e.g. ministry of culture after Artigue & Winsløw, 2010 9. Civilisation 8. Society 7. Museum 6. Pedagogy 5. Discipline 4. Exhibition 3. Cluster 1. Task 2. Exhibit Not all conditions and constraints on the didactic transposition process come from the science content or the museographic form!

Some conditions come from outside the science dissemination situation at hand. Artigue & Winsløw 2010 D i d a c t i c t r a n s p o s i t i o n Visitor Interactive exhibit Science Centre Visitor Interactive exhibit Museum Interactive exhibits are essential for my learning! Museums are about information and old stuff, our heritage. There was a significant correlation between what visitors expected to be able to do at a museum or science centre, and their self-reported learning outcomes Visitors who were expecting interactivity were more likely to report educational benefits from their interactions than visitors who were surprised by it Falk et al. 2004 Visitor Interactive exhibit Museum An interactive exhibit in a museum? I didn't expect this! Manifestation Origin 9. Civilisation 8. Society 7. Museum 6. Pedagogy 5. Discipline 4. Exhibition 3. Cluster 1. Task 2. Exhibit = Type of Task Technique Technology How is the blind cave beetle adapted to its habitat of permanently dark caves? An answer to this question... Type of Task Technique Technology Visitor's praxeology Type of Task Technique Technology Scientist's praxeology How is the blind cave beetle adapted to its habitat of permanently dark caves? Type of Task Technique Technology Diorama Immersion Interactive exhibit Hands-on exhibit What are exhibit genres? Museums Science centres 3D model that shows event or scene
Refers to the natural world
Requires visitor to use senses they would use in nature (Insley 2008; Porcedda et al. 2006; Montpetit 1996) 3D environment for visitor to enter and play a role in
Message is mediated through characters, conflict and dramatisation (Montpetit 1996; Belaën 2003; Mortensen 2010) Require activation by visitor
Often show a phenomenon, the visitor otherwise would not be able to see
Message is mediated through visitor's action (Feher 1990) The visitor's actions and the exhibit's reactions must influence and change each other
Message is mediated through sequences of mutually influential actions (Dicks, Soyinko & Coffey 2006) Ways of mediation
= affordances? Task: Technique: Technology: Entomologist's praxeology identify the blind cave beetle's characteristics as being adaptive compare beetle's characteristics with those of nearest relatives to exclude characteristics that come from common descent if near relatives from a different habitat have different characteristics, they are probably adaptive Cave beetles Ground beetles achiam@ind.ku.dk
Dissertation available as pdf at http://www.ind.ku.dk/publikationer/inds_skriftserie/2010-19-exibit-engineering/ (Mortensen 2010) (Mortensen 2011) How is the blind cave beetle adapted to its habitat of permanently dark caves? Achiam 2012 Directly perceivable properties of objects that determine how they can be used Allen 2004 Plates are for pushing. Knobs are for turning. Slots are for inserting things into... When affordances are taken advantage of, the user knows what to do just by looking: no picture, label or instruction is required. Affordances Norman 1988 Technique Technology Do the characteristic affordances of an exhibit genre constitute its own "didactic praxeology"? DIDACTIC
PRAXEOLOGY Type of Task Diorama Immersion Interactive exhibit Hands-on exhibit Technique Technology Type of Task Artigue & Winsløw 2010
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