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School trips research

In Museums, what i'm reading on September 22, 2010 at 11:02 pm

We had a meeting today of the informal learning reading group, organised by King’s College, London. We’re a group of museum professionals – mostly involved in learning somehow – and  academics involved in learning who meet up 4 or 5 times a year to discuss an academic paper or book chapter. It’s organised by Jen de Witt, an amazing and energetic researcher at King’s who keeps us all in check.

This time she chose a couple of papers written in the last year or so which look at approaches to investigating outcomes from a school trip to a zoo. We’ve been playing with ideas about to evaluate how people learn in museum/gallery/zoo/science centres for years now. There have been countless seminars and conferences, books and books written about it, even a research centre established at the University of Leicester and a government-backed model for how to measure learning. But somehow we still can’t get to the bottom of how to figure out the true impact of a museum visit on someone, especially in a learning context.

Perhaps that’s why it’s such an interesting group to be involved with. We always have lively conversations about what we’re doing in the workplace and how the papers we read might impact on that. And it’s a good chance to get together and have a chin wag with other people in the museum learning sector.

This time we read: Learning on Zoo Field Trips: The Interaction of the Agendas and Practices of Students, Teachers and Zoo Educators by Sue Davidson, Cynthia Passmore and David Anderson and Students’ Perspectives of a Science Enrichment Programme: Out-of-school inquiry as access by April Lynn Luehmann.

If you’re working in the museum sector and like meeting people who want to discuss ideas and share contacts/projects, I’m hosting a little event on 6 October in London called Not the Museums Association Conference. It’s for people who can’t afford to go to the MA conference in Manchester this year, but still want to do some networking in a bar, somehwere.

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