הפקולטה לחינוך מברכת את פרופ' (אמריטה) בילי עילם, מהחוג ללמידה, הוראה והדרכה על זכייתה ביחד עם ד"ר יאול לניר, מהחוג למערכות מידע במענק מחקר מכובד מהקרן הלאומית למדע ISF. המענק ניתן לחוקרים על עבודתם המחקרית תחת הכותרת "Promoting Children’s Meaningful Learning in a History Museum Using Mobile Devices" .
Museums are one of the primary locations of informal learning. Groups and individuals arrive at the museum with the purpose of being mentally engaged in what they see or do, and of being able to personally connect with the objects, ideas and experiences provided. In order for the experience to be meaningful, most visitors expect a learning experience that would not only “be fun”, but would also be effective regarding learning about the items and exhibits at the museum. While these may constitute important main targets for visitors and curators alike, many people question whether any real learning occurs in museums. Do visitors to museums learn in it, and if so, how do they learn and what do they learn? For children arriving at museums, this is even more challenging. How should we create an environment that not only provides an enjoyable experience, but also supports the child’s meaningful learning at the museum?
An important precursor for children’s learning is having them being engaged with the museum’s interpretations. One way to engage children at the museum, is by using technology. This may be especially important in humanity-oriented museums such as history museums, which as opposed to science museums, are non-interactive in nature and are mostly limited in presenting small exhibit items from far away or behind glass. A mobile visitor’s guide may enable children a more enjoyable and interactive experience as well as their higher engagement. However, it remains unclear to what extent do such technologies support leaning in general, and specifically, compared to other, more traditional methods.
We propose examining how technology can support children’s meaningful learning at a history museum by looking at how children learn at the museum when using three interpretive options: (1) using a classical information-centered mobile guide that provides audio-visual information on various exhibits, (2) using an activity-centered mobile guide that uses riddles, puzzles, questions, and other activities, with the same information and exhibits, and (3) using a pen-and-pencil assignment sheet that would use the same activities, but without the technological mediation. We will explore how children behave and learn at the museum using thorough observations that will include both video and conversation recording and analyses. In addition, we will measure learning by administering knowledge questionnaires as well as personal interviews to better understand children’s motivations, preferences, ideas and understanding. Collecting data via these different tools will allow us to triangulate our sources in order to construct a comprehensive picture of the various learning processes transpiring at the museum in the different conditions.