5 Ways to use social media to spice up your next museum trip

4/18/2014 12:00:00 AM

It’s not uncommon for today’s children, brought up in a fast-paced, digital world, to become bored and uninterested when visiting cultural institutions. It doesn’t have to be that way though. Sometimes the first step to enjoying art is to look forward to a museum visit as something that is fun. Social media can provide a great way to engage young people during a trip to museum, landmark, or other cultural institution. At the same time, it might just connect them to a new community of others who share a love of arts and culture that they didn’t know they had.

Here are some fun and innovative ideas for teachers and parents to try on their next field trip.

1) Get social to create enthusiasm
Many of today’s cultural institutions have social media spaces such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Before your trip check out what the institution, and those that visit it, are saying. What is going on currently at that location that is of interest? Have the young people who will be visiting the institution take a look and make a plan for the upcoming visit. Don’t forget, real people are administrators and contributors to these sites, so consider asking them some questions, conversing and building some enthusiasm in advance.

2) Use hashtags
Pick a hashtag for your trip and use it for capturing all the cool things you find. You can use the hashtag for Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Facebook, and Google plus, then collect them all in one place using a service called Tagboard.com. This is a fun way to document your trip using your favorite social media platforms. You can see an example of what that looks like at https://tagboard.com/museumhack.

3)  Thinglink
ThingLink makes images interactive and brings them to life. Simply take a photo and give it touch points that lead to music, video, text, images, and more. Before going to a museum, print out the museum map. As young people go through the museum have them take pictures and make videos. These can become touchpoints on the digital jpeg of the image. Thinglink allows multiple users to edit, so if there are several young people who went on the trip, they can each bring to life their area of the museum. You can see an example of what this looks like here http://www.thinglink.com/scene/500859588443111424

4) Yelp Review
There’s no better way to turn young people off from visiting a cultural intuitions than to ask them to turn what they experienced into a report. Instead, write a Yelp review to share with the world. You must be 18 to contribute to Yelp, so this would be done by a parent or teacher with the input of those who joined them. Not only is this a great way to authentically share knowledge, you can also see what others said about the institution as well.

5) Sketching for connecting with a community
Are you taking teens on a field trip who love to sketch? Encourage them to sketch away using a sketching app like Paper which is known for both its simplicity as well as its sharing functionality which some call the Instagram of sketching. Built in tools let you share on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook and connect with others who sketch using the #MadeWithPaper hashtag. You can also submit a creation to the site.

Cultural institutions suffer from a perception of being stodgy places, but it’s not enough to throw up our hands at “kids today.” These are voracious consumers of popular culture who thrive on social connections and social media gives us yet another entry point to help them understand and love the creations of others. Try a few of these ideas and you might be pleasantly surprised to have the young people in your life begging to go on the next trip to the museum. 

For even more ideas visit http://education.answers.com/outside-of-school/innovative-ways-to-turn-museum-trips-into-a-fun-learning-experience

Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.


Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.
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