Fieldtripnote: Exploratorium

From: Jakob Schulze
Submit: Post Field Note
VisitDate: 11/06/96
Children-Run: Selected
Bottom-up: Selected
Informal: Selected
LearningArea: Self-Assistance
Date: 14 Nov 1996
Time: 20:14:55
Remote Name:




I went to the Exploratorium last week and I loved it!


I think, beside all the great machines, the best thing about the place is the spirit. The fact, that I could see the workshops there, gave me the impression that the whole museum is evolving and alive. Since I've been there the first time, I can't tell how much change there actually is, but the place seemed really exciting to me.

When I look back at myself, playing there, I find that I am not totally different from the kids at BU. I didn't like to read lengthy instructions or explanations (and mostly didn't). I was more likely to play with an exhibit that had short instructions. Other features that made me play with a machine were: aesthetic qualities, an interesting title, a design that proposed instant results, and things I already knew.

I often observed that kids don't use the machines in the intended way. That's quite okay, as long as they have fun, but somtimes I felt a little bad about it, because they don't really use the possibilities they have to discover new things, and by that, learn effortlessly.


How can we capture a spirit, in which we promote constant development for us and the institutions we work in?

What determines the attractiveness of an exhibit or a game (i.e. the likelyhood of a kid to engage with it)?

What is our goal in the interaction with the kids? Make them have fun and learn something, or optimize learning and fun? And if the latter, how important is each factor to us?