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Beyond the walls

I have a big idea…

This lightning talk will share the ways in which Museum Victoria Education team have used social media to connect to education audiences over the past two years, what we did, who we connected to and what’s happening now.

Presented by Jan Molloy, Programs Co-ordinator, Humanities, Immigration Museum, Museum Victoria





Now, Narelle and I didn’t plan this. However, Narelle and I have been working together for probably the last 18 months. So some of what I’m talking about connects very nicely to what she’s just spoken about.

I’m a teacher, and I work at the Immigration Museum, which is part of Museum Victoria. And I’m not a digital native, but my thought was– about three years ago, maybe four years ago– that probably I needed to get into a space that was going to look to and think about the future, and think about where the teachers that we wanted to engage with in our education programmes were going to inhabit. And if I didn’t get to understand it, I probably wouldn’t be able to talk to them.

So I’m going to talk about digital and education in learning. I have bit of a big idea. I’m thinking about it in terms of creating connections to museums– museum education programmes using Twitter TeachMeets. And I’ve sort of talked about tapping the zeitgeist.

OK, so I am a little bit addicted to Twitter. Don’t laugh, Jonny. I use it for my own personal learning. I use it for professional learning. I use it to develop networks. And that’s where Narelle and I met.

I also wanted to be able to transfer my understanding of how I engaged in the digital space into my professional space as an educator for Museum Victoria. And thus we have developed through support from a range of people at Museum Victoria– Jareen is here, our social media guru. Jonny and a number of other people, we’ve created an account for Museum Victoria teachers, where we hoped to connect to teachers who are engaging in a space and wanted to think about modelling some strategies for engaging with education.

We took it upon ourselves to think about how do you use social media to model things that might be happening for teachers and students. And so we developed our little idea called TwitterTours. We developed TwitterTours as a model of what you might do if you are using BYO devices and you’re wanting to engage in real-time conversation about places and people.

And so we started our first TwitterTour, and you can look at it on Storify. We then moved into not only promoting perhaps the idea that there were big ideas in places outside of our spaces. But we could also bring them into the museum.

And so, even in the Immigration Museum, in a very bluestone building that has very limited Wi-Fi access, we struck up the idea that we could tweet, and we could put it together, and we could turn into a TwitterTour, and it might work. And it might work to promote another way of thinking about using social media.
And then we are part of a large group of GLAM, Galleries, Libraries, and Museums in Melbourne CBD, where we run a programme educating teachers about the possibilities of what you can do in the city. So we decided we’d do a TwitterTour, talking about what’s happening in the city prior to a PD that we were running, a whole PD. That was just, again, a bit of excitement happening and the Melbourne city experience. That’s where that happened.

And, again, we Storified and talked about that with people. We then, through Twitter, I found out about TeachMeets. Who knows about TeachMeets? They’re fabulous. They’re unconferences. There’s no cost associated. It’s teachers teaching teachers.

But we became the facilitator through museum spaces to allow teachers to come into to our museums and use it for a space. And so Scienceworks and Immigration Museum have become a venue for a TeachMeet once a year. And we moved conversations by ourselves and others. And we talk about what you might do what you might not do.

And here we’ve got the model where for our TeachMeet we talked about at TwitterTours, Grade 3-4 from Blackburn South St. Luke’s primary school, they modelled their own TwitterTour and Narelle headed up here as well. St. Luke’s Grade 3-4, that’s their little excursion that we directly fed into, and talked about on-time learning and connected experts from the museum. Our entomologists were talking about the bugs that they’d found.

Since we’ve had that profile, I’ve had a lot of people ask me can they come and join with us and work on another project. So the possibilities that have been enabled through me taking the step to become involved in one space has led to a number of very, very productive partnerships.

I’m a co-host of #histedchat. And we’re very, very active across Australia and with a lot of other museum chats across the world, because history and museums, etc. We get excited about Museum Week on Twitter. And we get excited about a lot of different things.

And, for a number of us, in the education space at Museum Victoria, we are engaging with other professionals in the education space. And we find we’re learning lots all the time. I’ve never learned so much, really, in my long history as a teacher as I have since I’ve been on the web with regard to professional learning.


Twitter tours (via Storify)

Twitter tour of Melbourne

Immigration Museum

Migration stories in the CBD

Wandering along with Year 3/4

TeachMeet Melbourne

Twitter hashtags






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