Today I had complete science envy. I’m not a scientist. I never will be a scientist. But sometimes, I get very very very excited by science. Today was one of those days. (and it had nothing to do with David Attenborough!)
I had a great meeting at the Centre for Life in Newcastle (aka TOON) with the lovely and excitable Camille. Its great when two museoaholics get together, there are lots of ‘ooohs’ ‘excellents’ and ‘ooh brilliants’. I haven’t been to the Centre for Life since I was an excitable tweenybopper when it first opened. To be fair I still look like and act like an excitable tweenybopper. It was great to go back and get a bit of a guided tour, and see how things have changed, how they have incorporated digital media into their exhibitions and what the future holds.
Camille is part of the Special Projects team and is looking at using QR codes in innovative ways for a new exhibition called Curiosity. The concept is ace. An exhibition that openly encourages wonderment, imagination, experimentation and exploration. It’s what science centres do best. I can’t wait for it to open. It’s coming in May folks. Check out the Centre for Life’s workshop development blog here for more about it, and they also have a great flickr group.
What made me really happy, was that entire environment of the Centre for Life encourages the visitors and staff explore via play. Whether that is exploring ideas in digital media for a new exhibition, understanding neuroscience, DNA or making a plasticine insect, it all involved getting excited about it and learning through playing with stuff. There is a lot of discussion about whether or not using play as a learning tool, and using digital technology to facilitate playful learning is actually doing the job properly. The question being are we in an Age of Engagement or an Age of Distraction? From watching people in the Centre for life today, I can very much say that Engagement wins (Even if I am bias, and I was always going to side with the engagement perspective). It’s clear to see that the school groups and children who were visiting the Centre for Life today were having a brilliant time. But its not just them. I had a fab time too. Apparently Einstein once said “play is the best form of research”. We all have a natural curiosity to actively explore, ask questions, make connections, and understand ourselves and our world. The Centre for Life is brilliant at doing that. Learning isn’t just about facts, it’s about the experience.
Here’s some of my favourite bits from today, all of them in the Make- it Interactive zone. Which has a range of hands on cool stuff for building, creating, making and thinking.
Pointillism done differently. Love it. Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte in stickers. Simple but really effective! Project the painting on a blank wall for 5secs intervals, and let people run wild with stickers. Similar to the amazingness of the Yayoi Kusama installation for the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art.
Fill the City. Anyway you want.
make an insect.. alright this is a person. but awesome never the less.
It all just makes me want to PLAY! Do not doubt the power play can have on kickstarting pondering.