Next week Ideum along with Independent Exhibitions will host the Human Computer Interaction in Informal Science Education (HCI+ISE) Conference. This first-of-its-kind conference will bring together exhibit designers, developers, researchers, and educators to explore the potential of new HCI technologies in informal educational settings. The conference will have events at Explora!, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Ideum, and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
The goals of the conference, as stated in our National Science Foundation proposal, are as follows:
“The goals of the meeting are to advance the current state of knowledge about the complex challenges and opportunities that exhibit designers and developers encounter in technology-based exhibitions and suggest strategies for enabling them to share theoretical and implementation approaches and methods.”
This is what we hope to achieve at the conference, again from the original proposal:
The HCI+ISE conference will:
1. Examine existing exhibits that use HCI technology;
2. Bring people together with diverse expertise to explore issues in common, and engage in design activities to better identify effective practices for designing HCI science exhibits;
3. Identify conditions under which HCI can be effective for enhancing museum visitor access, participation, and learning;
4. Identify strategies and mechanisms for expanding the application of HCI to exhibit practice, thereby maintaining freshness and nimbleness in exhibition development;
5. Connect to NSF research priorities, and to initiatives and strategic areas, in order to advance and strengthen the interchanges between museum practice, the learning sciences, and public understanding of science; and
6. Create a network of HCI+ISE users, and take steps to improve communication, knowledge access and leadership within and across ISE communities.
More concretely, we have set up a number of small group activities and discussions that will explore the nature of new HCI technologies and their real and potential applications in museums settings.
The conference will culminate in an exploration of future scenarios. In particular, we are having groups look at the visitor experience seven years from now in 2020. We are focusing on a diverse set of institutions, each with a stakeholder as a group facilitator. Groups will create vignettes of visitor interaction at the following institutions: Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Explora!, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, SFMOMA, Shedd Aquarium, and London Science Museum.
A digital booklet with findings from the HCI+ISE conference will be released later this summer and will include the future vignettes from each group. In addition, we will have a way for conference attendees and others interested in the future scenario to get these documents (re)emailed to them in June of 2020. This digital time capsule feature will be available on the HCI+ISE site following the conference.
The HCI+ISE Conference is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF DRL #1139752) and sponsored by Intel. (This article is cross-posted on the Open Exhibits & HCI+ISE site).