Learning and Technology sitting in a Museum Shaped tree…EngageM Take Aways

For the past while, the Digital Learning Network and Museums Computer Group have been toying with the idea of holding a joint event.  An event which combines two areas very close to my heart, learning and technology in museums.  Why? Well… we all know that museums are finding more and more ways to use digital technologies to enhance visitor experience; and this has a big impact on museum learning and public engagement programmes. But really how often to these two sections of the museum world really get to talk to each other?  Surprising little, because in many museums the work of learning departments and technology teams is still quite separate.

We wanted to change that so, we held Engaging digital audiences in museums this week.  It’s the first event that MCG and DLNet have organised together, and it’s been great working with everyone.  A big shout out to Rhiannon, Juno, and Mia, who did most of the organising and programme decisions.  I hold my hands up and say that I didn’t do very much of the work, apart from turn up and jump over tables, but I am very proud of how the event went.

The aim was to bring together the two worlds of museum technology and museum learning and encourage them to talk and learn from each others’ skills and experience.  I hope we managed to do that is some form or another.

We had some official bloggers on the day (posts will be up on the DLNet and MCG sites shortly), and there have been a couple of posts up already by Juno and Ben from Thought Den (including not one but two awesome Twitter posters).  So I won’t waffle on but here are my take aways:

  • Nick Winterbotham  is particularly good at soundbites.  I love his enthusiasm for all things learning. From encouraging us all to make this conference the most important day of our lives so far,to, Have you heard about the Big Society version of Cluedo? It’s got no library in it
  • There’s still a lot of questions about mobile use in museum. “Is using mobiles in museums a sign of Super modernity of a sign of flawed concentration and disengagement?”  Matthew Cock asking How does audience motivation fit into the use of mobiles? Can you match mobile functionality with motivation types?  Quite a lot of the discussions reminded me of Kevin Slavin‘s keyonte at MCN2011: “The job of technology is not to give us new things to look at, but new ways to see”
  • Lucinda Blaser encouraging us to all think creatively and not let the technology guide us. “if there was magic in the world what would you want to do in the museum?”
  • Wonderment is the ultimate key performance Indicator
  • I miss Newcastle more than I thought I did.  Thanks to John Coburn’s presentation on Hidden Newcastle.  And the eccentric brilliance of a lying egomaniac.
  • Generic Learning Outcomes. They. Are. A. Good. Thing. But there is more work to do to embed them into digital projects.  See Rhiannon’s post about that.

Short and sweet. ish.

Launching the new DLNET site

After a good few months of planning, discussion and development the new DLNET site is up and running! Hooray!

The Digital Learning Network shares ideas and good practice in using digital technology to support learning in the Cultural Heritage sector.  As chair, I really want this new site to be a central point for gathering information and experiences about how the cultural sector is using Digital Tech in for learning. Whether that be online, in the gallery or in outreach.    I’ll be posting on there, as well as on here.  But I thought I’d let you know as I’m quite proud of the achievements DLNET has made recently!

I have been chair for over a year now; I am finally beginning to find my feet.  It’s been challenging but the DLNET committee are a brilliant team of individuals all working in and contributing to the digital learning field and all have be instrumental in making DLNET what it is.  I want to thank the committee and supporters, for all the help and support they have given me over this time and I hope they will continue to do so in the future.

Our initial change to become DLNET (from the E-learning Group building on the foundations for further achievement that Martin and the ELG committee had built up previously) was met with great enthusiasm and the concept going back to basics and get people talking about technology and learning in museums, archives and libraries is a clear message that is easy to understand.  Find people, build networks, share ideas

DLNET aims to provide three key things:

  • Support and advice on how technology can help deliver inspiring and creative learning in museums, libraries, archives
  • Training events and case studies of good practice
  • A discussion Network to share ideas

We became very aware that our old website was not working as well as it could.  We needed to think clearly about the websites intended use. We needed to consider our brand identity and DLNET values and work towards spreading the word about what we do, and why it’s important.  With the launch of this new site, I hope we have created a clear and definitive concept which will enhance the website for our users and make it more streamlined and easier to use.

I’m really pleased to feature an interview with Rhiannon from the Museum of London talking about the PictureBank.  I really think the PictureBank is an awesome learning tool.  I really want to push for sharing interesting digital learning case studies.  I think showcasing how different institutions are doing digital learning projects is a brilliant way to show the depth and breath of work going on in the sector.  If anyone wants their projects to be featured on DLNET do let me know!

I hope you like it!


Digital Learning Adventures in Museums Call for papers now open!

Image taken by Benedict Johnson Photography Limited at DLAM11

Digital Learning Adventures in Museums focuses on case studies from museums who are using digital technology in innovative ways to support learning onsite, offsite and online.   Following on from the success of Digital Learning Adventures 2011 (DLAM), we are planning on making it bigger and better this year, with two days of  presentations, how to activities, and hands on demonstrations.

The Digital Learning Network and the British Museum are hosting a two day Digital Learning Adventures in Museums conference at the British Museum on 23th and 24th February 2012.

As well as case studies discussing a range of digital learning topics, there will also be an excellent opportunity to get your hands on using digital technology using the British Museum galleries and the state of the art Samsung Digital Discovery Centre in the Hands on Session’s .

We want to make sure the presentations at DLAM2012 represent the latest work in the sector and cover the issues that are important to our members so we have decided to open a call for papers. We have selected a set of themes, focusing on designing, delivering and evaluating digital learning projects, but also looking at collaborative partnerships and working with volunteers.

The themes are:

•           Designing and delivering participatory learning opportunities

•           Developing mobile applications for learning

•           Partnerships and collaborations

•           Working with volunteer technologists and hobbyists and other volunteers

•           Evaluation of digital learning projects

However, we are open to any elements concerning digital technology and learning.  In particular we would like all speakers to include actionable lessons in their papers.

If you would like to propose a paper for one of these themes, please email info@digitallearningnetwork.net by 30th November including the following information:

•             Your name

•             The organisation you work for if applicable

•             Link to resource/website if applicable

•             The theme under which you envisage your paper sitting

•             A short summary of what your paper will cover (up to 250 words)

•             The main ‘take home’ points which participants are likely to find applicable to their own work


We will aim to make a decision on which papers to include and let you know by 5th December.

We look forward to reading your proposals.