Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Educational Games to Enhance Museum Visits for Schools

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Educational Games to Enhance Museum Visits for Schools

Article excerpt


Museums acquire, conserve, research, communicate and exhibit cultural heritage for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment (ICOM, 2007). These institutions mostly target specialists, tourists and students (Bowen & Filippini-Fantoni, 2004) and thus, are usually looking forward to engaging their public in new types of displays in order to understand and appreciate the cultural heritage (Petridis et al., 2013). Museums do not limit their interests to indoor exhibits but also to the dissemination of the cultural heritage (Paliokas & Kekkeris, 2008). For instance, it has been shown that a clear learning strategy between schools and museums reinforce students' learning experience (Griffin, 2004). The relationship between the entities can be strong with the creation of teamworks (students, educators, museum staff and researchers) which objective is usually to conceive specific museum activities (Wishart & Triggs, 2010). Such projects have shown interesting results, but it implies an additional cost for the schools and the stakeholders' time schedule might invade their personal time (Vavoula et al., 2009). Another type of collaboration, which is not as strong as the abovementioned one, is the development of virtual museum applications specifically designed to be used at school (Paliokas & Kekkeris, 2008).

With such an objective, the Oteiza's museum in Navarre (Spain), made a call for a project to disseminate Jorge Oteiza's work at schools. This project, "Oteiza para tod@s" (literally, Oteiza for all), answered this call by proposing a framework that integrates the three following components: Art, Education and Technology. Jorge Oteiza represents one of the most important artists in the Spanish modern art (Alvarez-Martinez, 2003; Pelay, 1978). His sculptures move from at the vanguard art such as cubism or constructivism to his proper mathematical / philosophical concepts such as negative aesthetics (Alvarez-Martinez, 2003; Echeverria-Plazaola, 2012). Such concepts make the learning process at school complex and this is what motivates the didactics section of Oteiza's museum to look for new educational tools (Urtasun, 2006).

Literature review

The "2015 Innovating Pedagogy report" pointed out that "crossover learning" would be one new learning strategy that may have deep influence in education (Sharples et al., 2015), aiming to combine formal and informal learning settings. For instance, one common approach that informal learning stems from is work-related tasks (Siemens, 2005) and active learning (Bonwell & Eison, 1991). This last consists in educational activities that engage physically students in the learning process, such as learning by doing things and thinking about the things they are doing (Bonwell & Eison, 1991). The gamification, for instance, is one mean to design such active educational activities. Therefore, this study aims to apply informal learning strategies in a more formal learning setting with in and out of the school activities. In this sense, the theoretical framework of this project follows the "3T sandwich" model (Parsons, 2015) with three layers to help the elaboration of the educational tool: (1) the Theories that are used to develop and inform the educational tasks; (2) the Technology that supports learning and interaction; and (3) the Territories of use with the targeted users and the stakeholders including their views and experiences.

Regarding the Theories, several strategies have been set to develop Virtual Museum (VM) applications that aim at either: (1) delivering information to the visitors (Kuflik et al., 2011), (2) enriching the experience by focusing on the interaction between users and exhibits (Chen & Huang, 2012; Hsieh et al., 2014; Pescarin et al., 2013; Schieck & Moutinho, 2012; Sen, Diaz & Horttana, 2012) or (3) teaching specific content around a pedagogical task (Coenen, Mostmans & Naessens, 2013; Petridis et al. …

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