Let me first say that technology is only as good as the person who reads his email. In the case of this blog, since I didn’t read my email, I blame technology rather than take the blame myself. I like how that works! Sooooooooooo let me play catchup. I did take the time to watch Nancy Proctor’s presentation and do agree that it looks like somebody filmed it with their cell phone and put it on YouTube. Oh the irony of it all! She brings up some very interesting ideas concerning the use of technology in museums. I thought it was interesting how they were using this new technology for audio tours in Amsterdam in 1952 and sixty years later many museums haven’t got that far yet! I think that if a museum really wants to take full advantage they need to accomplish a few things.
First they need to have strong leadership that fully understands this new technology or hire somebody that fully understands it and give them full reign( or is it rein?) to get the job done. They also need to be able to accommodate all levels of customer understanding of technology. They will have everyone from the 14 year old tech genius who almost knows too much, all the way down to the 80 year old grandma who still has a rotary dial phone in her house and is deathly afraid of all technology. The trouble is that the museum only has a few minutes to accommodate these customers so they must be prepared for all levels beforehand. This might require dividing the customer into A, B or C groups and adjusting the technology and presentation accordingly.
I think we have all seen some of this in our class. There is so much out there that is exciting and we wanted to use for our projects that we (or I) had a hard time trying to narrow it down to one or two. The advantages of using technology in our class was limitless, but our abilities to learn and time to learn was limited. I think that if I was teaching a graduate or undergraduate public history course using mobile devices the I would keep it narrowed down to a few of the best apps or programs. Assignment “A” would be done this way using that app, Assignment “B” would use another app, Assignment “C” would use another, etc. I think all this mobile tech and apps is awesome, but drinking from a fire hose is hard to do and harmful to your health!