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An examination of the interactions between museum educators and students on a school visit to science museum

An examination of the interactions between museum educators and students on a school visit to science museum
An examination of the interactions between museum educators and students on a school visit to science museum
Today, science is a major part of western culture. Discussions about the need for members of the public to access and understand scientific information are therefore well established, citing the importance of such information to responsible citizenship, democracy, socially accountable scientific research and public funding (National Research Council [2009] Learning science in informal environments: People, places, and pursuits. National Academies Press). In recent years there has been an increased interest in investigating not just what visitors to informal environments have learnt after a visit, but also how visitors interact and engage with exhibits during the visit (Davidsson & Jakobsson [2012] Understanding interactions at science centers and museums: Approaching sociocultural perspectives. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers). Within the field of school visits to science museums, however, interactions between students and museum educators (MEs) remain relatively unexplored. In our study of such school visits, we are mainly interested in the interactions that take place between three agents—the students, the museum educator and the physical setting of the exhibit. Using moment-to-moment fine grain analysis of multiple interactions allowed us to identify recurring patterns between students and the museum educators around exhibits, and to examine the MEs’ mediational role during the interactions, and the practices they employ to engage students with exhibits. Our study revealed that most interactions between MEs and students consist of technical explanations of how to operate the exhibits. The interactions that do move past this stage often include two main practices, which the MEs use to promote students’ engagement with the exhibits: physical instruction and engaging the students emotionally. Understanding what is actually happening in the learning process that occurs during students’ interactions with exhibits can help museum educators and exhibit designers improve the experiences of students on school visits.
0022-4308
211-239
Shaby, Neta
8e27d9f4-f99e-4fae-8f5a-bfb59b67f0e5
Ben Zvi Assaraf, Orit
16f51c7e-32a7-45e2-ba9e-27f0fb6dd1d0
Tal, Tali
8035ac7b-7f65-474d-8f53-9dc67b2cae8a
Shaby, Neta
8e27d9f4-f99e-4fae-8f5a-bfb59b67f0e5
Ben Zvi Assaraf, Orit
16f51c7e-32a7-45e2-ba9e-27f0fb6dd1d0
Tal, Tali
8035ac7b-7f65-474d-8f53-9dc67b2cae8a

Shaby, Neta, Ben Zvi Assaraf, Orit and Tal, Tali (2019) An examination of the interactions between museum educators and students on a school visit to science museum. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 56 (2), 211-239. (doi:10.1002/tea.21476).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Today, science is a major part of western culture. Discussions about the need for members of the public to access and understand scientific information are therefore well established, citing the importance of such information to responsible citizenship, democracy, socially accountable scientific research and public funding (National Research Council [2009] Learning science in informal environments: People, places, and pursuits. National Academies Press). In recent years there has been an increased interest in investigating not just what visitors to informal environments have learnt after a visit, but also how visitors interact and engage with exhibits during the visit (Davidsson & Jakobsson [2012] Understanding interactions at science centers and museums: Approaching sociocultural perspectives. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers). Within the field of school visits to science museums, however, interactions between students and museum educators (MEs) remain relatively unexplored. In our study of such school visits, we are mainly interested in the interactions that take place between three agents—the students, the museum educator and the physical setting of the exhibit. Using moment-to-moment fine grain analysis of multiple interactions allowed us to identify recurring patterns between students and the museum educators around exhibits, and to examine the MEs’ mediational role during the interactions, and the practices they employ to engage students with exhibits. Our study revealed that most interactions between MEs and students consist of technical explanations of how to operate the exhibits. The interactions that do move past this stage often include two main practices, which the MEs use to promote students’ engagement with the exhibits: physical instruction and engaging the students emotionally. Understanding what is actually happening in the learning process that occurs during students’ interactions with exhibits can help museum educators and exhibit designers improve the experiences of students on school visits.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 9 May 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 September 2018
Published date: 10 January 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 451585
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/451585
ISSN: 0022-4308
PURE UUID: ab19faec-9472-486d-8660-4ab2381085a4
ORCID for Neta Shaby: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3788-6613

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Date deposited: 12 Oct 2021 16:33
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 02:33

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Contributors

Author: Neta Shaby ORCID iD
Author: Orit Ben Zvi Assaraf
Author: Tali Tal

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