Take Two: A Study of the Co-creation of Knowledge on Museum Web 2.0 Sites

October 1st, 2007 - October 1st, 2007 | PROJECT

Researchers at Michigan State University, University of Washington, Science Museum of Minnesota, and Museum of Life and Science found that there are clear indicators of learning in Science Buzz (www.sciencebuzz.org), the online museum environment studied as part of the Take 2 project. People who participate in conversations through the Buzz blog demonstrate an interest in science, and they leverage their own experiences and identities in order to share science knowledge with others. Researchers utilized indicators of learning as identified in the National Academies report on Learning Science in Informal Environments. Aspects of learning that were particularly important for an online environment like Science Buzz were interest in science, participating in science through the use of language, and identifying as someone who knows about or uses science. Researchers found that Science Buzz participants had a strong interest in scientific issues, utilized argumentation strategies--an important scientific practice--and identified with the importance of science in their lives. In particular: (1) Interest in scientific issues, caring about scientific issues, identifying personally with scientific issues were commonly evident in Science Buzz; (2) There is widespread use of argumentation in relation to scientific issues, an important scientific practice, although the quality of the scientific reasoning associated with these argumentation practices varies; (3) The co-construction of identity between online participants and the host museum is a potentially powerful outcome, as it suggests that online learning environments can facilitate longer-term relationships; (4) The analytical tools developed by this project advance our ability to understand learning in online environments; (5) While some indicators of learning are present, others, such as reflecting on science or co-constructing science knowledge with others, are not present. For museums, encouraging museum staff to engage digital tools and online participants is relatively easy. However, measuring online activity with regard to complex outcomes like learning is extremely difficult. Perhaps the most useful outcome of the Take 2 project, therefore, is a tool that will enable museums to make sense of online activity in relation to powerful outcomes like learning.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Web 2.0 at the Museum of Life and Science: Final Report for the Take Two Institutional Research Study at the University of Washington

Team Members

kris morrissey, Co-Principal Investigator, University of Washington
Jeff Grabill, Principal Investigator, Michigan State University
Bill Hart-Davidson, Principal Investigator, Michigan State University
Kirsten Ellenbogen, Evaluator, Science Museum of Minnesota
Deborah Perry, Evaluator, Selinda Research Associates
Troy Livingston, Contributor, North Carolina Museum of Life + Science
Stacey Pigg, Contributor, Michigan State University
Katie Wittenauer, Contributor, Michigan State University
Beck Tench, Contributor, North Carolina Museum of Life + Science
Alex Curio, Contributor, University of Washington


Funding Source: IMLS
Award Number: 593000


Audience: Evaluators | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM | Technology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Media and Technology | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Resource Centers and Networks | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media