Saturday, May 05, 2007

Research on museum websites developed for teachers

I received the following email from the VSG list:

"Jessica from Randi Korn & Associates is looking for fairly recent studies of museum Web sites developed for teachers. She is trying to comb the literature to get an idea of how teachers are using the Web, specifically museum Web sites."

Jessica, I did a detailed study in November 2005 to gain a better understanding of how emerging internet technologies are affecting the learning environment, with a specific focus on teachers and high-school students. The overall objective of the research project was to provide us with guidance on how to best develop a website that meets the needs of students and teachers in the primary and secondary levels across a range of curriculum areas. General objectives were to gain insights into how students and teachers are using the internet and what they are looking for when they access websites.

We conducted a series of five focus groups with students and teachers from a mix of public and private educational institutions. There were primary school teachers from years 5-6; secondary school teachers from years 7-10 (mainly science teachers and co-ordinators); students aged 13 to 16; and a group of teachers specialising in technology and computing. The aim of the discussion was to look at participants’ use of the internet, their knowledge of media, and their reaction to a range of websites.

Ahead of time, participants received a letter outlining the aims of the research and providing a list of websites to review. These museum, gallery and general sites had targeted materials for teachers and allowed a two-way exchange of information - these proved to be extremey useful as a way to seek general and specific feedback - here's the list of the sites we used. As well, participants brought along a list of the website ‘favourites’ they used for recreation and education, which again gave us useful insights into how they were using the web.

The paper from this study (Kelly and Breault, 2006) will be published in the proceedings of the 2006 ICOM-CECA conference this year. I'm happy to email this paper to anyone who wants it.

Also, I'd be interested to hear of others' experiences, BUT rather than email - which only reaches a select few - why not blog your responses for many to share??


Jessica Brainard said...

Hi Lynda,

I finally managed to access your blog. When I tried on my Mac, it didn't work but I got on using my PC.

Yes, I would greatly appreciate it if you could send me your paper on your museum teacher website research.

Many thanks,


LyndaK said...

Thanks so much for posting Jessica - you are now part of my world-wide experiment and you passed with flying colours! The paper is on it's way to you (when I get back to work on Monday Sydney time).

LyndaK said...

Have had another request for this paper, so instead of emailing it I am posting it on our wiki (or trying to anyway...) so if anyone else wants it go to this link and I'd love it if you left a comment there, here or anywhere!

LyndaK said...

There is a shortened version of this paper in the current issue of The MAG which focusses on Inoformation Technology.

Anonymous said...

Hello Lynda,

I was able to download your pdf about teachers and their use of museum websites, thankyou for this very useful article!

The Australian Academy of Science's excellent program Primary Connections consulted teachers during the program's development. They seem to have placed a lot of uppdates and additional material on their website for teachers to access.

It's interesting to read about teachers' needs and IT resources. The SiMERR report on rural and regional teachers, 'Science, ICT and Mathematics Education in Rural and Regional Australia', which can be found at suggested that teachers need IT support more than other resources.

Cindy, Canberra

LyndaK said...

Thanks Cindy - these resurces are going to be very useful to us as we are currently redeveloping our website and these will all feed in nicely. I have embedded the links below:

Primary Connections

Science, ICT and Mathematics Education in Rural and Regional Australia Report

There are also some useful research resources from the UK at the Futurelab website. The Teachers learning with digital technologies report is good, here's the summary:

"Our purpose in this review is to examine how teachers learn, and what part digital technologies may have to play in that process. We have consulted the literature in order to examine the research base. We have found that, though there is research-based literature that deals with teacher learning, and a literature base for thinking about learning with digital technologies, there is little that deals directly with our specific focus of 'teachers as learners with digital technologies'. There is very little fundamental research that investigates how teachers might learn with digital technologies. Rather, there seems to be a pervasive assumption that teachers will learn with digital technologies. Hence, we take the approach of reviewing what is known about teacher learning, before introducing digital technologies into the equation."