Social media, young people and museum: #Meetday2015

Today at the #Meetday2015 WHERE EDUCATION, EVALUATION AND TECHNOLOGY MEET as part of Museum Australia’s 2015 Conference I presented my thinking on social media, young people and museum. Click here for my slides. 

My outline was: Museums are unique sites of learning, as are social media platforms. Both spaces promote co-creation of meaning making. For young people, both spaces encourage their personal habits of using mobile technology, photography and social sharing. Therefore, I have an idea, what if we looked at how we can engage young people as a museum education audience with social media as a way to extend their cultural understandings and connection to meaning making before, during and after a site visit? I would like to propose that the use of social media within museum education could maximize young people’s personal use of social media and digital technology to showcase visual, narrative and social ways of learning within a museum.

I’m really interested in hearing what you think:

What is possible?

What are the barriers? 

What are your ideas? 

#MuseumEdOz is launched

Over the past few months I’ve been working with the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney as a Visiting Research Fellow. We have been exploring how we can engage education audiences with learning and social media (you can read more here and here on initial thinking). It has been such an exciting adventure with many perspectives shared on both building student capacity to engage with the rich cultural objects on offer at MAAS and museums as a whole and in building teacher capacity to engage with learning resources both for curriculum and their professional development. We have focused on a spin, if you like, of engaging through social media. This way of thinking has emerged through the philosophy that social media platforms are rich sources to form a community, continue conversations, share personal experiences, create visual narratives through the generation of images (photographs or video) paired with a story (or even recorded) that shares knowledge, meaning making, and posed questions.

Our thinking has led us to connect firstly with teachers. Specifically we are exploring how we can link early years, primary, secondary and higher education teachers with museum educators nationally to form a supportive community that discusses all things museum education. This has lead to the launch of a dedicated hashtag to focus on these areas. We are calling this adventure #MuseumEdOz.

We are aiming to:

  • Provide a voice for museum educators and teachers
  • Develop an Australian profile on social media to further strengthen USA presence in this space
  • Connect in real time and across boundaries with fellow museum educators, curators, museums, and teachers
  • Demonstrate how social media can be a professional learning platform
  • Support the access to resources, pedagogical strategies, and ideas in a fluid environment
  • Develop a community of practice
  • Provide a forum for posing questions, discussing best practice, and innovative educational approaches to engage learning for all in the museum setting with objects, exhibitions, and cultural assets
  • Explore new ways to engage audiences
  • Extend experiences for teachers in museum education

This hashtag will be launched next week beginning on the evening of Sunday 24th May 2015 through a cohosting of @EduTweetOz (read more here about this great network of teachers on social media) by myself, Dr Narelle Lemon (NL) and Mr Peter Mahony (PM) focusing on museum education.

Throughout the week we are very excited to be tweeting about learning in the museum from the perspective of museum educators, teachers, students and curators. The focus will be on object based pedagogy and we are planning to live tweet several museum education programs to share learning strategies, engagement with objects, and interactions with students and teachers.

We will be hosting a live TweetChat on Tuesday 26th May 2015 at 7:30pm (EST) focusing on the following questions about learning with objects and in informal settings such as museums. We would love you to join us and share your perspectives.

TweetChat_28May2015_v1

The hashtag #MuseumEdOz will be used to connect teachers and museum educators national as a community during the week and beyond. We are planning to have monthly TweetChats (1st Thursday of every month) hosted by various educators nationally and invite you to make contact to propose ideas and questions. You can do this by contacting Peter or myself through Twitter or email (see below for our details).

tweetchatinvite (1)

Who are your hosts for Tweet Chat 1?

PeterMahony @vergeofperil

Email Peter.Mahony@maas.museum

Peter is Manager of Education and Digital Learning for Sydney’s Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.  He is responsible for program direction and delivery of the Museum’s booked group learning experiences including the Thinkspace digital learning centre, and is curriculum leader for special projects including The Mars Lab.  Peter believes that a revolution in school-museum learning partnerships is just around the corner and lends all available effort to running punk learning experiments to try to find a way.  Qualifications include Master of Teaching, Graduate Diploma in Music Therapy, Bachelor of Arts, and Cert IV Workplace Train and Assessment.  Peter’s background is in community and performing arts. Back in the day, with the Castanet Club he toured nationally and internationally as performer and musician, including to the Edinburgh Arts Festival. These days Peter sings in Sydney based gospel choir Cafe of the Gate of Salvation.

 

Dr Narelle Lemon @rellypops

Email: n.lemon@latrobe.edu.au

Narelle is a Senior Lecturer at La Trobe University in Melbourne working with pre-service teachers in the areas of arts education, interdisciplinary skills, and integration of digital technology in learning including social media. Her research agenda is focused on engagement and participation in the areas of teacher capacity building in cultural organisations such as galleries, museums and other alternative education settings, social media for professional development including Twitter and Instagram, and working in academia. She works with teachers through visual inquiry, narrative inquiry, action research and participatory research methods. Narelle also coordinates the Master of Teaching (primary) within the School of Education at La Trobe University.

Narelle’s passion is for learning has been throughout her career as a F-12 arts (music and visual arts) and generalist primary teacher and now with future teachers. She firmly believes everyone can learn from each other. She is very much looking forward to cohosting @EduTweetOz with the focus on how museums, and other cultural organisations such as galleries, libraries and aquariums, can support learning across the curriculum as well as for teacher professional development. She is a firm believer that this is a wonderful platform to support one another and form a community to explore learning.

When Narelle is not teaching, researching or tweeting she dabbles in mountain bike riding, photography and drawing.

Connectionto Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney, New South Wales.

Peteris Manager of Education and Digital Learning and Narelle is currently a Visiting Research Scholar with the Museum.

 

Five ways to make a difference

Narelle Lemon:

This is an ace post about thinking bigger picture with your research and collaborations. Be inspired and be inspiring!

Originally posted on The Research Whisperer:

Sticky notes listing impacts of climate change. Impacts, by Jonathan O’Donnell on Flickr

We aren’t here just to generate papers, people.

We’re here to make a difference, to improve things.

Heaven knows, there are enough issues out there that need our help!

If your research sits within the academy, being cited by other researchers, then you might get a promotion. But you probably won’t make a difference.

Here are five ways you can get out there and help put your research into action.

View original 1,211 more words

Would a dedicated hashtag to museum learning in Australia work?

IMG_3661I’ve been having great discussions with MAAS educators and the communications crew about audience engagement with social media. Particularly from the education stance and illuminating the unique learning that occurs. We have been thinking about how to engage teachers, students, museum educators, and learners as a whole. How could we do this?

One hashtag that has a profile online, although US dominate, is #musuemed. What if we leveraged this profile and created a hashtag called #museumedoz? Would this engage an audience of educators – in schools and in museums to engage in conversations through the platform of Twitter? If the focus is on museum learning there would be an open dialogue created that provided opportunity to engage in real time two-way conversations that explore the various aspects of object based pedagogy, learning in museums, school visits, public programming, learning with objects, curriculum, museum educator roles, discussions on various approaches or curriculum ideas. Underpinning this would be building the capacity to engage in cultural participation from an education stance.

Would we showcase various museums?

Would we have guest hosts?

Would we have a dedicated time for an online discussion?

 What do you think? What is your initial reaction?

A spontaneous observation of energized museum learning

I’ve just begun a new partnership with the Museum of Applies Arts and Sciences (MAAS) as their inaugural Visiting Research Fellow. This is an exciting new adventure for both the museum and myself. Most importantly for me this is a significant new opportunity to be able to explore my research in museum education. My fellowship is focusing on how we can utilise young people’s personal social media use – specifically how they photograph their experiences and share these via various social media platforms that enable them to compose a narrative, share their insights, and pose questions to a community of peers. I’m really interested to investigate how we can utilise these personal online behaviours in education spaces to further promote engagement with objects, spaces, content, and meaning making.   But more on that later.

My adventures in the first two days have allowed me to have such inspiring conversations with curators, museum educators, volunteers, the communications crew, and even the director. I love the fluidity of the space for learning opportunities – formal and informal. I’ve been intrigued by quite a few experiences since being here including those being in the form of organized conversations and spontaneous public observations of interactions.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 2.44.28 pmThis morning was one of those spontaneous moments I just have to share. Moving through the exhibition spaces and between floors I came across an open carpeted floor space that was covered in rows of large bowls. In them gold bottle lids were piled, shining in the museum low-level lighting. “What’s going on here? How intriguing” was the comment I made to a colleague I was walking with at the time. To my delight a museum educator came up to shed insight with an invite to return in an hour or so to witness 80 primary school students engaged in a learning experience with these bowls.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 2.44.59 pmI went off to another area of the museum and finished a couple of tasks before returning later to discover this space within the museum filled with laughter, excitement, energy and 80 young people, their teachers and two museum educators enthralled in an exploration of the Eureka Stockade. The bowls were indeed gold pans, and the golden bottle lids gold. Young people were in costumes, there were small groups of students problem solving together while others were trading in gold fields business, and most importantly there were public still interacting with surrounding exhibitions (with some even stopping to look with the same big smile I had on my face!). The discovery and inquiry into key aspects of the Eureka Stockade were being acted through a carefully designed game involving dramatization, small group work, whole class discussions, and questioning defined by learning by doing.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 2.44.47 pmAt key moments in time a museum educator would yell out “Eureka” which was followed by a collected response of “Eureka”. Oh my noise in a museum! How cool I thought! This was followed by some quick instructions or a posing of a question that the students then needed to go about and solve.

What I loved about this museum learning experience was the strategies engaged with to communicate with the students by the museum educators. At no stage was there a raised voice, a reminder to listen, nor extended periods of wait time. The students were engaged, the museum educator was engaging, and the learning task was inspiring and motivating. Clear expectations of how the game was to be played out were set that allowed for a learning community to be quickly established. The students were smiling and the listen to each instruction so they could continue with the game.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 2.45.22 pmDrama, costumes, props and a script took the young people through an experience that unpacked the learning focus. Interdisciplinary skills were engaged with throughout the process. I observed cooperative teaching and learning strategies, group roles to enable inclusive involvement, problem solving, communication, posing of questions, and reflective and metacognitive thinking while inter- and intra-personal learning was engaged with. A no stage did I see one student who had to be guided back into focus. There was interaction, problem solving and inquiry. Most importantly the young people were trusted to engage with the content that promoted the generation of a memory that provides a connection to history, the past, and context to now.

When have you observed a learning experience that has just glowed with energy? What strategies have you observed being used?

Teacher education and partnerships with galleries: What do pre-service teachers think?

Partnerships with cultural organisations such as galleries and museums are under utilised by teacher education programs in Australia (Abeles, 2004Bybee, 2001Falk, 2001; Lemon& Garvis, 2014; Nichols, 2014; Wilson, 2004). Cultural organisations are community assets that offer a range of rich and diverse learning resources and programs for learners encompassing all levels of education (Eames & Coll, 2010; Grossman & McDonald, 2008). This project aimed to investigate how a partnership between Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) and La Trobe University could begin to understand how working in partnership while embedding a site visit into teacher education curriculum could support future teachers awareness of resources available.

Approach

The project was a case study that gathered the voice of pre-service teachers in order to understand the impact of cultural engagement within teacher education.

There were three stages to this study: 1) pre survey, 2) participation in visual arts workshop at SAM, and 3) post evaluation.

Participants

The participants were pre-service teachers (students) of the Graduate Diploma of Education (Middle Years) course. A total of 59 participants were involved in this pre-survey of the study, with a return rate of 54.6%. In the post-survey 82 returned the survey with a return rate of 78%. 108 pre-service teachers were in the class who participated in the education program at SAM as a part of their teacher education studies.

Findings

Pre-service teachers background in creative participation:

Visual arts participation saw largest numbers in crafts like ceramics, jewelry making, sewing or woodcraft (53%) and photography as an artistic endeavor (45%). 61% play a musical instrument while 58% sing and 35% participate in traditional or contemporary theatre. Creative literacy practice participation sat in the writing of a biography, memoir, essay or history (52%) and novel or short story (48%).

Background in arts and specifically receptive participation:

The pre-service teachers indicated that they visit galleries (71%) and museums (79%) as a part of their personal time. 91% attend live music, 70% attend traditional or contemporary theatre, and many read a novel (85%) or read a biography, memoir or history (83%).

From this pre-data collected there is a strong percentage of pre-service teachers in this cohort who participate (creatively and receptively) in cultural activities connected to visual arts, performing arts (music and theatre/drama), and creative literacy.

Access to cultural organisations as teachers:

54% of the pre-service teachers indicated they had visited a gallery or museum for education purposes. The top reasons for this visit was for: a) School excursion (74%), b) Public program (19%), and c) Artist talk (16%). Only one pre-service teacher had visited these sites for teacher professional development.

In reflecting upon the reasons for not considering cultural organisations as educational resources, the pre-service teachers indicated that they had not made connections to these sites as resources. There were also reflections indicating lack of confidence, not knowing how to engage the site for education and were not too sure about moving form personal engagement to professional engagement. These are significant findings for partnerships between teacher education and cultural organisations and indicate the importance to engage future teachers who currently do not engage with cultural organisations for educational purposes in order to support them to make connections. While for those who do already engage with cultural organisations connections are reinforced and reminders are provided in how personal to professional links can be made to enhance both curriculum work with young people in school settings and for professional development as a teacher.

 Evaluating the learning experience at SAM:

The visit to SAM stimulated thinking:

  • About pedagogy from the perspective of art and thinking skills
  • How to engage students

The top ideas or curriculum connections emerged while at SAM:

  • Integrated curriculum approaches
  • Utilising the collection for literacy

Strength indicated were:

  • Gaining awareness around curriculum links
  • Gaining awareness pedagogical ideas
  • Experiencing SAM as a site for learning

Weaknesses indicated were:

  • More unpacking of art in the classroom (how to)
  • Too much talking (by educators)

Observations indicated were:

  • Enjoyed opportunity
  • Enjoyed the variety of art
  • Could begin to make connections to their role in teaching

Threats indicated were:

  • Logistical areas (time, location, travel, seeking permission from leaders to attend)
  • Perceived value to the curriculum (finding time, justifying need/value, working in a crowded curriculum, miss understanding how cultural organisations support/enhance curriculum and are not an add on)

Adolescents, their relationship with teachers and coping skills to adjust to teacher classroom management strategies.

School days we have all been there  (accessed from Shutterstock)

School days we have all been there (accessed from Shutterstock)

The classroom, as a social setting for learning, provides a dynamic, yet bounded, set of conditions that engage and affect the learning process. These conditions serve either to support or constrain development of learners (Grossman, Smagorinsky & Valencia, 1999; Martin 2004). From this sociocultural perspective learning is viewed as an active process in which knowledge and meanings are constructed and reconstructed through participation in social interactions (Cole, 1996; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Lemke, 1997; Marshall, 1992; Rogoff et al., 1995; Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1985; 1998). Thus engagement in the classroom as a learning environment is an important contributor to success of being able to negotiate the world and meaning making. It is then Important for students to connect to the learning environment and indeed the teachers who lead and facilitate learning opportunities. This highlights the significance of student connection to teachers and learning, and thus relationships in the learning environment.

As Bourdieu (1986) reminds us, relationships, produced through reciprocal exchanges are repositories for social capital. Furthermore, an individual’s ability to benefit socially and/or academically may be reliant on resources such as information, norms, and support converted through relationships (Bourdieu, 1986; Coleman, 1988; Crosnoe, 2004). For the classroom this is extremely important and highlights how learning experiences are organised in relation to how they impact students in schools and how they engage with teachers, content, and indeed each other (Hopkins, 2001; Hopkins, Munro & Craig, 2011).

Student academic and social success may significantly benefit through the provision of classroom supports such as established norms of expectations, trust, communication, and engagement (Crosnoe, 2004; Stanton-Salazar, 1997). Student-teacher communications may also be indicators of the internalized expectations and trust levels teachers have of students (Good & Brophy, 2003). Crucial to the classroom, these communications transmit norms, which can positively or negatively affect student-teacher relationships (Stanton-Salazar, 1997). Furthermore, Muller (2001) states that the probability that an educator can produce a supportive classroom environment is affected by the quality of individual student-teacher interactions.  Thus, indicating that a supportive classroom is built on social relationships that should nurture students’ sense of belonging (Murray & Zvoch, 2011; Sergiovanni, 2005) which can then increase student classroom engagement levels, students’ beliefs of their own academic and social capabilities (Fan, Williams, & Corkin, 2011; Larson, 2014; Lee, 2012; Patrick, Ryan, & Kaplan, 2007; Thapa, Cohen, Guffey, & Higgins-D’Alessandro, 2013) as well as classroom responsibility (Lewis, 2011). Subsequently, if a teacher is perceived to alienate students this can lead to disconnection within the classroom (Brown, Higgins & Paulson, 2003). In order to generate effective social classroom environments, both students and teachers need to sustain reciprocal relationships through an acceptance of obligations to and expectations of the other party (Bryk & Schnider, 2002). This is essentially important, as Sullivan et al (2014) reveal in their research, that of all unproductive behaviours that occur in classrooms, disengaged behaviours by students are extremely prevalent and teachers consider them difficult to manage.

Maintaining orderly learning environments is important because they are associated with high student engagement and achievement (Angus et al., 2009; Creemers, 1994; Hattie, 2003; Lewis, Romi, Qui, & Katz, 2005; Overton & Sullivan, 2008; Sullivan, 2009; Sullivan et al., 2014). Hattie (2003) reminds us that:

 …an optimal classroom climate for learning is one that generate an atmosphere of trust – a climate in which it is understood that it is okay to make mistakes, because mistakes are the essence of learning…expert teachers create classroom climates that welcome admission of errors; they achieve this by developing a climate of trust between teacher and student, and between student and student. (p.29)

Illuminated in this quote is that a classroom environment built on trust comes from focus on relationships, engagement, and responsible classroom behaviour. This is where Pearson et al. (2008) reiterate that relationships “create unique and often lasting attachments among individuals … that influence behaviors such as cooperation, communication, and commitment to a common purpose” (p. 958).

Importance is highlighted then for students to adapt to teacher expectations and style in order to be able to negotiate the student-teacher relationships and to adapt to the requirements of school. As Hanewald (2013), and Mello and Nader (2013) reiterate, students are required to learn to act responsibly towards others and towards their learning across all age levels and transition times of schooling (for example, from kindergarten to primary, primary to secondary, or so on). Adjustment, therefore, requires coping skills to be manifested by young people (Davis & Humphrey, 2012; Keefer, Parker, & Saklofske, 2009) in order to be able to negotiate relevant expectations and thus display appropriate and responsible social behaviour. As equally important to the classroom environment and student responsibility is also teacher use of engagement and management strategies. If there is not the appropriate classroom management strategies utilised by the teacher disconnection by the student can be present. A lack of positive student-teacher relationships in the classroom may cause students to experience a disconnection (Angus et al., 2009; Creemers, 1994; Hattie, 2003; Lewis, Romi, Qui, & Katz, 2005; Overton & Sullivan, 2008; Sullivan, 2009; Sullivan et al., 2014; Trahan, 2013). In a study by Trahan (2013) with Grade 6 and 7 students (aged 11 to 13 years) findings specified that when disconnection occurs, students may become disengaged. This disengagement subsequently produces difficulties in developing self-efficacy which facilitate potential academic and/or social growth.

We argue in the research we have carried out with over 1000 adolescents in Australia is that student coping is a mediator of disconnection in the face of teachers’ classroom management. Coping strategies utilised by young people relates to their manifestation of appropriate social behaviour. This is important as coping skills are closely connected to adaptation, social functioning, and social, physical and emotional health (Hanewald, 2013; Hines, 2007; Lasarus & Folkman, 1987; Mello & Nader, 2013). Discrepancies in social skills and social competence, including coping and adaption, can lead to adjustment issues and behavioral problems in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood (Bru et al., 2010; Elizur, 1986; Hines, 2007; Kolbe, Collin & Cortese, 1997; Mello & Nader, 2013; Spence, 2003). In this research it will be assumed that effective coping may lead to appropriate adjustment, and be used as a mediator of disconnection in the face of teachers’ classroom management. We highlight that there is a productivity connection between time on task and achievement for the student and therefore anything to do with the teacher and their classroom management strategies. However teacher use of aggression and thus subsequent distraction leads to a tension between the teacher-student relationship (Lewis, Romi & Roache, 2012). As a result students coping strategies assist in the adaptation to liking school, what the teacher pedagogical displays and manifests in the learning environment as a part of their classroom management strategies.

This research findings highlight the significant relationship between teacher and student. Regardless of gender those students who utilise Productive coping strategies are significantly more likely to like their teacher and to express more interest in learning and the belief that it is important. Findings also indicated that these students are more likely to remain attentive when their teacher enacts classroom management strategies to address responsible behaviour of peers. In contrast those adolescents who utilise Non-Productive coping strategies indicated that they are less likely to like their teacher and believe that learning is interesting. This non-engagement is a significant reinforcement of why teaching adolescents coping skills and how these skills can support both academic, social and emotional development is vital (Larson, 2014; Lee, 2012). If those students are utilising Non-Productive coping strategies, do not believe in learning as an interesting endeavor and thus have greater distraction as a result of teachers dealing with misbehavior in class, the maintaining of a productive and supportive classroom community where all learners can succeed according to their needs and learning styles is impacted. It could be assumed that the adolescents in need of a positive teacher-student relationship in the classroom environment to scaffold learning are the ones who are, distracted and indeed the target of the teachers classroom management that in turn is making them feel disengaged with liking learning. Whether the teacher behaviour and classroom management strategies are justified or not, for the student this is a significant issue where crucial life long learning is disrupted and impeded. These findings highlight the significance of student connection to teachers and learning, and thus relationships in the learning environment. The findings of this research reinforce how important it is to teach adolescents coping strategies. The findings contribute to the evidence that teaching adolescents to improve their coping results in positive outcomes (Carter, 2010; Frydenberg, 2004; Frydenberg & Lewis, 1999a; 1999b; 2002; Lemon et al., 2004; Meller & Nader, 2013) and influences responsible behaviour (Cook, Tankersley & Landrum, 2012; Holen et al., 2012; MacCann et a., 2012; Mikolajczak, Petrides, & Hurry, 2009) and their sense of positive student-teacher relationships (Wang & Eccles, 2011; Wigfield & Cambria 2010).

 

What are your thoughts about the student-teacher relationship and impact on classroom responsibility?

How can teacher pedagogical decisions engage all learners, but especially those who feel disconnected?

How can we meaningfully teach coping skills to young people?

What are your experiences?

 

References

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