Perspectives on Object-Centered Learning in Museums

Perspectives on Object-Centered Learning in Museums

Perspectives on Object-Centered Learning in Museums

Perspectives on Object-Centered Learning in Museums

Synopsis

Originating in a recent NSF conference held at the University of Michigan, this book examines the latest ideas about how children interact with objects and through that interaction acquire new understandings, attitudes, and feelings. Although museum education provides the primary setting within which object-centered learning is explored, the analyses apply to a wide range of learning environments. Despite the demonstrated importance of object-centered learning for both academic and life-long learning, until now there has been little psychological research on the topic. Key features of this outstanding new book include: *Cross-disciplinary Focus--This is the first book to examine object-centered learning using the perspectives of such diverse fields as science, history, literacy, and art. *Museum Focus--The explosion of interest in museums of all kinds provides a natural launching pad for conceptual and practical discussions of object-based learning and informal learning environments. Vignettes--In order to ground the conceptual analyses, each chapter includes vignettes describing people actively engaged with objects in a specific setting. This volume is appropriate for advanced students and researchers in educational psychology, cognitive psychology, science education, and persons directly involved in museum education.

Excerpt

Understanding the interactions between objects, children, and museums is both a fascinating and daunting task. Although few topics could be more fundamental to our understanding of how museums function as educational, cultural and leisure settings, historically, little thought and even less research has been directed towards this area of inquiry. By its very existence, then, this volume makes an important contribution. However, like so many other aspects of museum visitor research, this topic too is at the earliest stages of development. Represented in this book are perspectives from a wide range of disciplines and schools of thought, many of them quite new to the museum field. Some have focused on objects, some on children, and others on the museum itself; all provide interesting ways to begin to think about how to wrap our minds around this exceedingly complex entity we call museums and the even more complex phenomenon called the museum experience.

I found particularly thought provoking the epistemological issues discussed by various authors. In fact, the theoretical framing of issues that occurs throughout the book, appropriately grounded in most cases with rich qualitative examples, is probably its most important contribution. In addition, there were some interesting methodological approaches suggested by Bain and Ellenbogen; van Kraayenoord and Paris; and Piscitelli and Weier that might prove fruitful in the future. As someone who has spent a lifetime investigating people in museums, I personally came away from reading this book with many new ideas and thoughts about not just objects and children in . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.