The New Web: Victoria, Canada

kevin.jpgI’ve finally found the time to put together quick post about the course I taught last week at the University of Victoria up in British Columbia. The New Web: Interactive and Collaborative Technologies in the Museum World focused on Web 2.0 technologies and techniques and their potential uses in the museum world.

While the heart of the week-long course was comprised of face-to-face discussions and small-group design “challenges,” we utilized a number of Web 2.0 technologies as well. Of course we had a blog (The New Web), a flickr pool, a set of del.icio.us bookmarks, and even a Shelfari site for reference books. (The bookmarks are perhaps one of the more interesting resources that came out of the course, over 100 links in all.)

Also added to the mix were two guest speakers joining us via video conference. Seb Chan from the Powerhouse Museum talked about their exciting Collections Database, which includes the ability for visitors to tag objects in the collection. Seb also shared with us the story behind their growing collection of blogs; fresh + new, Great Wall of China Blog, Views from the Sydney Observatory, and Free Radicals.

Kevin von Appen
who helped develop the Ontario Science Centre’s innovative RedShift Now website explained the connection between the museum floor and the RedShift site. (Kevin is presenting in the picture at the top of this post.) We also discussed the Science Centre’s recent posting of videos on YouTube (check out the plasma ball video). They are one of the first science museums in the world to do so.

One the course participants, Jim Groom has put together a couple of detailed posts about each of these guest speakers in his Bavatuesdays blog. Take a look at The Powerhouse Museum: the Name Says it All and The Ontario Science Center’s “RedShift Now” Jim describes each video conference and discussion much better than I could.

It was great to get away for a week and to have the opportunity explore and discuss some of the profound changes that are happening on the Web and what it means for museums. Having a mix of museum professionals, educators, and students made the experience all the more enjoyable, and the discussions and presentations were quite lively and interesting.

I hope to post more about some the ideas that came out of our week together in the next week or so, but for now I’m busy getting ready for the National Digital Forum in New Zealand. More on that very soon.

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