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Museums and the Web

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

Kidding Around: Hands-on Digital Learning for Children and Families


Building on the success of the workshop at MW2010, three London museums are uniting to offer a half-day workshop on designing digital learning activities for children and families. The British Museum, Museum of London and Victoria & Albert Museum all have on-site digital education centers that offer ambitious programs for young people.

The nature of our collections and the unique interests and expertise of the teams running these programs means that they are incredibly diverse. The British Museum (Shelley Mannion) focuses on 7-9 year olds through augmented reality, animation, media production and web-based presentation tools. The Museum of London (Paul Clifford) covers a range of ages with photography, video production and mobile applications. The V&A (Alex Flowers) focuses on Adobe design tools, gallery photography and collaborations with media artists.

We propose a workshop that offers a jump start to museum educators or managers thinking about how to serve these audiences. Topics would include:

  • What are kid-friendly objects? How to use them in digital learning?
  • What are the profiles of young visitor types (e.g., very young children, elementary school age, pre-teens and teens? What does each group need?
  • How to integrate technology effectively into successful models of gallery education?
  • How to create a digital learning program on a budget?
  • How to approach technology sponsors and write a proposal for funding
  • What is the difference between gaming and game-like learning?
  • How to use web-based and social media to connect with young audiences?

The workshop will include discussion, quick hands-on activities selected from our vast repertoires of fun ways to engage children in the galleries, and a design activity where participants are asked to break up into small groups to brainstorm and describe a digital learning activity for an audience and institution of their choice.

Particularly in the context of the recently announced MacArthur Foundation grants for museums and libraries in Digital Media and Learning, there is increased interested in on-site digital learning activities and best practice in serving young audiences through digital media.


Workshop - full or half day


smannion's picture
Biography pending.
alexflowers's picture
Coming from a background in language education, I entered museum and gallery work through the Museum of London where I was the Digital Learning Assistant. The programme of digital learning spread across the museum's departments and we worked extensively with schools in the galleries, our digital...