For by blog post this week I’d like to talk about one of my host institutes core values, learning, and how it will inform my project moving forward.

Explora Science Museum defines its core value of learning in this way:

“We champion experiential, open-ended learning as a foundation for innovation, creativity and critical thinking.”

For the New Mexico Digital Inclusion Pilot I am experimenting with using the science museum’s signature outreach Family Science Events, and integrating digital literacy education into our curriculum. While this is by far not the only change we hope to try, it is a foundational one. The question we have to ask is “how to facilitate digital literacy in this way?” I have a few thoughts:

Open-Ended and Experiential Education

Value: We approach education in the museum in an open-ended way by posing questions in response to our visitors questions, making the learners own exploration at par with the instructors prior knowledge.

“Learning is inherently valuable and essential for growth.”

Practice: Let’s bring this sensibility to digital literacy training. Perhaps the way forward is setting up a kiosk of terminals with different digital literacy explorations.  These explorations will have a facilitator, not leading a class, but guiding an experience that the learner is in ultimate control of.

“The best answer is often a question, unless it’s ‘where’s the bathroom?’”

Value: In our museum we blur the lines between educator and learner. Often the playful open-mindedness of a child opens new doors for us to see old scientific principles in a new way, and the experience of our elders helps us all draw connections from exploration of a principal to its worldly application.

“Parents and family are essential partners in learning”

Practice: I’m hoping to keep our family focus on digital literacy training. Often times our elders and children, parents and teens are split into groups to teach separately. I’d like to experiment with a class that preserves the family as a unity that learns together. Picture a terminal that explores using a mouse by designing a simple, digital rug pattern. Next to it you will see a small rug making exhibit with a screen. A grandmother might design a simple pattern with her computer, share the design over the web to a screen where her grandson uses that pattern to make a small rug.

“Everyone has something to learn and something to teach.”