March 22-25, 2006
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Sessions: Abstract

Mobile Phones: A new way to engage teenagers in informal science learning

Denise Bressler, Liberty Science Center, USA

What are our youth using their mobile phones to do? They text message, play games, listen to music, and take pictures, and that's only the beginning. Teenagers are the ones establishing the rules of this new mobile culture ad hoc. To them, the mobile phone is not a device for making phone calls, but rather, a 'lifeline' to the social network and an instrument for coordinating their everyday life. Can this tool, that has seemingly ensconced itself into youth culture, become a tool for informal science learning? This paper will summarize findings that have been collected as part of the Science Now, Science Everywhere (SNSE) project started by Liberty Science Center. SNSE is a recent technology initative by the Center that aims to explore the unique educational opportunities that are possible when visitors use their mobile phones as tools for learning in informal science education. Coupled with industry research from the technology and museum sectors, project research to date demonstrates an untapped area of educational opportunity that could be used to engage teens in science. Liberty Science Center believes that science centers can engage the teenage audience by extending the learning experience beyond hands-on interactives to mobile phones.

Session: Blogs, Pods, and Mobiles [Technology]

Keywords: mobile phones, m-learning, mobile technology, teenagers, science education, SMS, MMS