From e-readers to tablets, there is an app perfect for your students. However technology has stepped out of the classroom and into many museums and tourist attractions. The WST team have taken a look at some of the top attractions using digitally assisted technology to enhance pupils’ experiences whilst on your next school trip.
A lot of museums now have their own dedicated app, which can be helpful for your students to download before taking a trip there so they know what to expect. Museums and galleries with such apps include The National Gallery, The TATE, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and The Louvre.
TATE galleries were among the first to recognise the value of apps, both for engaging with visitors, and for offering multimedia exhibition guides. They have a total of 16 apps available and they range from the educational, such as the Tate Guide to Modern Art Terms, to the just-for-fun: Muybridgizer app which allows you to create an Eadweard Muybridge-style animation using your iPhone camera.
MoMA has a multimedia channel hosting simple ‘walkthroughs’ of exhibitions, blogs and a strong social media presence. There's also a dedicated kids' section including the Art Lab iPad app letting children design their own artwork in the style of those in the MoMA collection.
The Louvre, the world's biggest museum has an audio guide available as an app, steering visitors around the gallery, pausing to admire such treasures as the Mona Lisa. It's designed to be used while visiting the museum, but is just as good from a distance, so it could be perfect to use in the classroom too.
QR codes, Holograms and Augmented Reality
Holograms, QR codes and augmented reality all offer a similar experience but should not confused for the same thing. However, all are fantastic for bringing artefacts to life and a great way to create educational tours that can be completely self-guided.
One great example of this was done by the Science Museum in London; an app which turns James May, one of the previous hosts of the popular BBC show “Top Gear,” into a virtual museum guide. By aiming the camera at a marker near nine of the exhibits in the ‘Making the Modern World Gallery’, students can conjure up a CGI version of the Top Gear host, who tells tales and details about steam engines and the first home computers.
Another example of this technology is at the British Museum. Using a dedicated app, it has transformed the museum experience for children into a story puzzle. The app sets up a game which gives awards as visitors find and scan certain statues and artefacts around the museum outlining a story and telling them more about the exhibition.
Bringing exhibitions to life
Some subjects can be harder than others to engage your pupils with, which is why we think it’s a great idea to try to bring the subject to life, so students can get an almost hands-on experience.
The London Science Museum created an app called ‘Journeys of Invention’ which allows visitors to find out more about certain objects in collections by putting them in context by using video footage, letting students interact with them digitally. A fantastic example of this was the Apollo 10 moon lander exhibition, which enabled visitors to see it up close and personal. It allowed visitors to (virtually) climb inside it and interact with the control panels. Metropolitan Museum of Art also created something similar on their ‘MetMedia’ channel called ‘Murder at the Met’, which was a virtual murder-mystery adventure for smartphones, set in the museum's American Wing in 1899.
We’d love to hear which of these fascinating technologies you plan on using on your next school trip; get in touch on Twitter to let us know.