Social media Venn diagram

Hashtag, ping, tweet, and repost

Social media + young people + museums = ongoing learning

I have a big idea…

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.

Presented by Dr Narelle Lemon, Latrobe University




So, my name’s Narelle Lemon. I’m from La Trobe University in Melbourne. I work in the School of Education there. And I’m also a visiting research fellow with Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences here in Sydney at the moment.

So, today I’m talking about a connection between education and learning, and the digital. And I’m here because I have a big idea. And I call it, social media + young people + museums, = ongoing learning.
So, I’d like to pose the question of what if we utilise social media in museum education programing? What could happen? How could we engage our audiences, both teacher and students, pre, during, and / or post? And extend that notion of what an excursion is? How can using social media, and I talk all sorts of different platforms here, how could multiple social media or a particular platform develop cultural understanding? How can co-creating knowledge assist in that cultural understanding, meaning making and extension.

I’m fascinated about integration, as well. How could it be possible? There’s all sorts of assumptions there in regards to users, personal verses private use. Learning how to use it for education, pedagogical considerations. But these are all things that I’d love to explore and see if it’s possible to mould together young people, social media, and museum learning.

So, what I love about social media for learning is a whole heap of different aspects here that I’ve summarised to made a Venn diagram for you. And I’ve looked at– [LAUGHING] We’ve cut the top off a little bit. I have a little heading there of what I love, but that’s OK. Being ambitious.

So, what I love is that social media has a look at the aspects of the narrative, the texts, or the audio. But then paired with visual of still or moving images like photography or video. And that creation of a visual narrative.

And I think the museum learning for education, for teachers, for students, that capacity to create visual narratives about knowledge, meaning-making culture, heritage, objects, connecting back to the curriculum. No matter what discipline you are is quite powerful. And in that, I really like that notion of using social media to tell stories. I think there’s observation, voice, capacity for student-centred learning, multiple learning styles to be valued, and really the communication of experiences. And I think that sits nicely with evaluation, as well.

And for curators, museums, the teachers, schools, education as a whole. Being really aware of what is the experience? What are the different types of experiences, and how can we learn from them and build on?

And of course there’s that aspect there of community. So, social media is well known for that formation of community, and really underpinned by inquiry.

So, in proposing this idea, I have some assumptions. I’m assuming that young people are capable of using mobile technology. I’m assuming that we value voice. The teacher voice. The student voice. The museum voice. The museum educator voice. I’m also assuming that there’s good, pedagogical decisions that could be made by educators in order to choose the right social media platform, integrate technology, whether it’s the device, the social media platform itself. But the museum educators also have to have good pedagogy so it can be modelled and really well thought out in how it’s integrated.
I’m also making an assumption that there’s a variety of social media platforms that are available, and that we can work around age requirements, learning requirements in regards to, even though most social media platforms are for thirteen-years above, there’s concepts of a class blog, or a class Twitter account, a class Instagram account, that’s managed by the teacher and moderates the student voice that’s included.

And I’m also making the assumption that museums want to extend their engagement.

So, in my final, little two minutes a couple of little examples of some action that’s going on with different schools, different museum.

This is Melbourne Girls Grammar School in Melbourne, and they’re engaging with social media. They’ve developed a social media platform for their school. They have participated in city weeks with city site, where students go out and explore big topics. And they go and meet, and investigate those big topics with local people.

The school promoted the students in their year eight to use their Twitter accounts. To use the school’s hashtag that they had developed to share their experience.

So, these are a couple little snapshots of what’s possible. Year eight. So, you’re talking 13 / 14 year olds. Girls. And even though it’s really tiny writing, They’re talking about what they’re doing. They’re showing that they can reflect and communicate their learning. And they got that visual narrative happening there.

So, I have nothing to do with the school, but I could have a sense of what was going on through their Twitter feed.

Another one, which is a primary school example, with Melbourne Museum is Twitter tours. And this particular primary school, St. Luke’s Primary School, engaged on their own Twitter tour. They’re investigating their community and they tweeted to MV teachers, to inquire into objects that they’d found. And there was live answering in regards to that response.

So again, that social media came through. This is an example of a class Twitter account.
And another little quick snapshot is a class blog. So, another grade 3, grade 4 example from Princes Hill Primary School. And they’re investigating museums. And they’re blogging and sharing their experiences as they go through.

So, just some little, small examples of what could be possible at the beginning of exploring this.
So, what I want to leave you with is– cut off the top one, but the question is, what is possible? How do we shift social media using museums from marketing to engagement with education audiences, an audience as a whole? How can we do this? and consider what the barriers are as well.

Thank you.





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