Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

Smartphones And Their Potential To Support Family Learning in the Cultural Sector

TitleSmartphones And Their Potential To Support Family Learning in the Cultural Sector
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsGreen, L., Webb A., & Petrie M.
Refereed DesignationUnknown

The use of mobile devices to provide interpretation at cultural attractions is not new. Audio guides - perhaps one of the earliest forms of what might broadly be called a ‘mobile application’ - have been a common part of museum and historic site visits since the late 50s. Interestingly, most mobile phone experiences for the cultural sector, up to recently, have simply tried to replicate this existing format on to the new platform with the addition of perhaps some video or images.

However, with the launch of the iPhone and the app store in 2008 people began to understand the broader opportunities this technology could offer. Apple had changed the way many people used and expected to use their mobile phone whether or not it was an Apple device and the app store offered the opportunity for any organisation or individual to publish (and monetise) tools, services or content to be used on the devices.

As we looked at the increasing capabilities of smartphone technology, we started to try to evaluate where the new possibilities for these mobile phones lay. We began to ask questions about which audiences had needs that weren’t currently being met and that could possibly be addressed by mobile technology. Early on in the process, we began to focus on family visitors as a potential key audience.

We hope to evaluate if smartphone technology could address the needs of the family visitor and how this would look by answering the following questions.
· Are smartphones the right platform for developing family museum experiences?
· Do they have access to the technology and if so how do they use them?
· What are the needs of the family audiences that aren’t currently been met?

Citation Keybib-12961