Museums and Digital Education in the Connected World

Paper
Henry Blue, Alchemy Learning, USA, Henry Blue, Alchemy Learning, USA

Education globally is undergoing massive disruptions that have direct ramifications on museums’ and cultural institutions’ ability to connect with and impact younger generations of learners. A sharp rise in the percentage of wirelessly connected schools is creating environments ripe for adoption of student laptops and devices in the classroom and, as result, a high demand for digital educational content. Concurrently, an increasingly competitive global workforce is driving countries to adopt and enforce standards and test-driven educational frameworks. The result of these disruptions for museums and cultural institutions is an environment that is threatening to existing education programs, but that also creates opportunity for unprecedented scalability in educational impact.

Cultural institutions are quickly realizing that bolstering their educational programming with digital curriculum can both offset losses in onsite school traffic due to shifting school budget emphases, and, thanks to the digital revolution in education, reach educators and learners far beyond their institutional walls. Furthermore, via digital education initiatives, cultural institutions can readily align their unique expertise and assets to learning standards that allow them to compete with traditional publishers in the classroom. This paper, supported by dozens of interviews with cultural institutions’ education directors and a widely disseminated survey, provides analysis on current trends- as reported by museum professionals- on how museums are approaching digital education initiatives to not only maintain relevance among younger generations of learners, but achieve impact and reach far beyond previously achievable levels.

Bibliography:
Education globally is undergoing massive disruptions that have direct ramifications on museums’ and cultural institutions’ ability to connect with and impact younger generations of learners. A sharp rise in the percentage of wirelessly connected schools is creating environments ripe for adoption of student laptops and devices in the classroom and, as result, a high demand for digital educational content. Concurrently, an increasingly competitive global workforce is driving countries to adopt and enforce standards and test-driven educational frameworks. The result of these disruptions for museums and cultural institutions is an environment that is threatening to existing education programs, but that also creates opportunity for unprecedented scalability in educational impact. Cultural institutions are quickly realizing that bolstering their educational programming with digital curriculum can both offset losses in onsite school traffic due to shifting school budget emphases, and, thanks to the digital revolution in education, reach educators and learners far beyond their institutional walls. Furthermore, via digital education initiatives, cultural institutions can readily align their unique expertise and assets to learning standards that allow them to compete with traditional publishers in the classroom. This paper, supported by dozens of interviews with cultural institutions’ education directors and a widely disseminated survey, provides analysis on current trends- as reported by museum professionals- on how museums are approaching digital education initiatives to not only maintain relevance among younger generations of learners, but achieve impact and reach far beyond previously achievable levels.