Repurposing content #TBT

How to repurpose content

How to repurpose content (Jensen and Kelly, 2009)

“Repurposing content”: write once, publish many time across a range of mediums – this has long been my mantra, and for this #throwbackthursday post I decided to revisit some of the discussions around this theme given a week of exciting meetings and developments (more of that to come…!). This post on the Museum3.0 site, “Repurposing content”: Making Web 2.0 easy, looks at why repurposing makes a lot of sense, through enabling great content to be re-formed and re-shared across a variety of platforms. One model we developed (as part of a paper reporting on using Web 2.0 for exhibition content development – Jensen and Kelly, 2009) suggests where to place content using a repurposing mindset.

There is also a really useful presentation by Chris Alexander (@cmalexander) on Slideshare: Create. Consume. Repurpose. In this, Chris reminds us that “Museums HAVE a lot of content whether they realise it or not” and provides useful tips on what kinds of content could be repurposed for mobile product development (as an example).

So, go forth and repurpose!


  • Jensen, B. and Kelly, L. (2009). Exploring Social Media for Front-End Evaluation. Exhibitionist. Fall, p.19-25. (available online – scroll down the page for the pdf version).
  • Kelly, L. (2013). The Connected Museum in the World of Social Media. In K. Drotner and K. Schroder (Eds). Museum Communication and Social Media: The connected museum (p.54-71). Routledge: London.

Twitter 101


Image from Edudemic (ttp://

What is Twitter?

  • Twitter is a micro blogging site where information, images, links and thoughts are shared in 140 characters.

Why use Twitter?

  • Keep up to date with news, events, research, latest thinking in our field
  • Attend conferences and events virtually
  • Communicate with colleagues
  • Connect with like-minded people with similar interests

Learn the basics of Twitter from Twitter!

  • This page tells you all you need to know about Twitter and is a good overview / start.

Twitter as a professional development tool

Three good resources about professionals using Twitter:

How to use Twitter

  • Follow a person, organisation using the @ symbol
  • RT (retweet) – Repeat someone else’s tweet sent to your own networks
  • MT (modified tweet) similar to above but use if you edit the tweet (sometimes this is done to save characters)
  • DM (direct message) – Private message to someone you follow, no one else can see it
  • Follow a conversation using the # symbol – known as a hashtag. Good hashtags I use regularly:
    • #mtogo (museum mobile community)
    • #musdigi (my stream sharing up-to-date links and stories from our field, and beyond!)
    • #museumed (museum education)
    • #musesocial (museum social media)
    • #musetech (museums and technology)
    • #museumeval (museum evaluation)
    • #MuseumEdOz (educators and museums monthly chat)
    • #collectionfishing (weekly tweets from museum collections)
    • #museumascot (tweets from various museum objects and collection “personalities”)
    • #aleague (for updated A League news and scores!)
    • And watch for #ckbs2014

What to tweet

  • Interesting links
  • Ideas, thoughts, questions to colleagues
  • Photos and short videos (i.e. Vine)
  • Answers to questions / Engage in conversation
  • RTs

Some tips (from presentation by Carli Collins, formerly of the @ANMMuseum)

  • Anyone can see your tweets
  • Once it’s published it out there
  • It’s ok to let people know who you are
  • Fine to share your views, but make people aware that they are your views, not that of the agency
  • Use phrase ‘Views expressed are my own’ (or words to that effect) in your profile
  • Don’t share confidential information – think about your organisation’s Code of Conduct and employment contract
  • Don’t do anything to bring the organisation into trouble
  • Just remember anyone can see your tweets, unless they are private of course, but anyone can then republish, so be aware

Other useful Twitter tips

Feel free to follow me on @lyndakelly61. Happy tweeting!

Multi-touch tables – overall what did the research say?

Reactable_MultitouchThis (now) final post brings together what I have gleaned from reading about multi-touch tables in museum exhibitions.


  • still seen as novel by visitors
  • visitors often don’t notice or know that you can touch and interact with the table – need to alert visitors that it is an interactive, not static display
  • stay time on tables is longer than at other exhibits
  • they are social experiences, especially for families, children usually take control
  • don’t use tables as a “dumping ground” for content that can’t fit on a wall – the table needs to be about interactions with fresh and current content
  • encourage self-directed interaction with many levels of exploration
  • children expect touch screens to react like their familiar technology – things they all use frequently like smart phones and iPads.
  • shared control may lead to frustration – adults and children use tables differently and may interfere with each other’s use
  • used by a wide range of visitors – singes, couples, groups, strangers, varying ages
  • children “dive in” and use straightaway, adults tend to hang back

Practical considerations:

  • tables will be used as an actual table for bags, drinks, books etc, so they must be robust, waterproof and able to withstand rough usage
  • carefully consider the physical environment and atmosphere
  • cleaning must be factored in daily as they make use of hands to manipulate content
  • need adequate circulation space
  • place near a power outlet
  • good Internet connectivity is essential
  • consider lighting
  • staff training is needed in turning on and off and resetting
  • where possible use software that can be updated in-house

Tables provide opportunities for visitor learning through:

  • visitors observing others
  • layered information encouraging deep exploration
  • shared learning strategies – sharing points of view, reading aloud, resizing material
  • enabling more interactive comments leading to higher levels of reasoning
  • creating a shared understanding of the tasks more quickly
  • enlarging, moving and re-sizing images which assists in shared attention and shared understanding


Minecraft and museums: a useful tool for visitor engagement?

minecraft-museum-britishI’m gathering resources for Minecraft and its use in museums. Here’s what I’ve found so far.


And of course, there is an online Minecraft museum exhibiting Minecraft images from around the globe.


Happy to get more resources – will share!

Multi-touch tables – what is the research telling us? Part 3

WePlaySmart_byHatchThis, the final post (for now) in this series on multi-touch tables, reports on a 2012 research study undertaken by Higgins, Mercier, Burd and Joyce-Gibbons – Multi-touch tables and collaborative learning.

The authors suggested that “Research on collaborative learning tells us that groups who build on each other’s ideas, engaging in mutually responsive conversation about their task, are more likely to solve problems successfully and learn from the experience” (p. 1052). Multi-touch tables, therefore, appear to be a good tool for encouraging this kind of social learning.

The study explored “… how the multi-touch compared with similar paper-based activities as a starting point to develop more pedagogically effective activates with more complex resources and interactions” (p. 1041)., with the premise that collaboration leads to enhanced group cognition “… [the] process of articulating, negotiating and coordinating the different views of members of a group” (p. 1042).

The researchers used a triangulated approach in their study design with 32 year 6 students aged 10-11 in a school in the UK contrasting “… how small groups collaborated during a consensus-building activity on either a paper-based or multi-touch (MTT) version of the same task” (p. 1043).

Some of the key findings were:

  • All MTT groups exhibited shared learning strategies – sharing points of view, reading aloud, resizing material
  • Appears that the enlarging function for images positively aided in successfully completing the task
  • Paper encouraged more independent and quasi-independent talk with more teacher involvement, MTT allowed for increased elaborative and negotiating talk with less teacher involvement
  • MTT enabled more interactive comments leading to higher levels of reasoning
  • MTT learners created “ … a shared understanding of the task more quickly” (p. 1051) than paper-based groups
  • MTT engaged in more shared viewing of images and more inclined to assist each other and discuss images they were viewing
  • Enlarging, moving and re-sizing images helped in shared attention and shared understanding

Overall, the multi-touch tables increased joint attention through the ability to re-position and re-size images, encouraging social learning and, ultimately, joint understanding.

There are two YouTube videos of the authors’ work here:

Article reference

Blog posts

Other papers

  • Mercier, E.M. & Higgins, S.E. (2014). Creating Joint Representations of Collaborative Problem Solving with Multi-touch Technology. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning Early view.
  • Mercier, E., Higgins, S. & Da Costa, L. (2014). Different leaders: Emergent organizational and intellectual leadership in children’s collaborative learning groups. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning.
  • Mercier, Emma M. Higgins, Steven E. & Joyce-Gibbons, A. (2014). The effects of room design on computer-supported collaborative learning in a multi-touch classroom. Interactive Learning Environments 1-19.
  • Mercier, E.M. & Higgins, S. (2013). Collaborative learning with multi-touch technology: Developing adaptive expertise. Learning and Instruction 25: 13-23.
  • Higgins, S., Mercier, E., Burd, E. & Hatch, A. (2011). Multi-touch tables and the relationship with collaborative classroom pedagogies: A synthetic review. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning 6(4): 515-538.


Big thanks to Professor Steve Higgins, Durham University, who generously provided this paper and the additional references.

The Reading Brain in the Digital Age

book_kindlePaper v screens? Is one better than the other or do they both have a role to play? This 2013 Scientific American article, The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: Why Paper Still Beats Screens, asks does the reading process of a digital or mobile text cause our brains to respond differently? Early studies pointed to reading text on paper as a better way to digest information, whereas current studies are not so conclusive.

What they found is that the act of reading may be better for comprehension, especially when navigating long texts, as the book provides a tactile experience. Screens may “drain” more of our brains causing people to approach a digital text with a mind that is not open to learning.

The article reminds us that humans are not ‘born with brain circuits dedicated to reading’ – it is a skill that we learn and hone throughout our lives. If this is the case then why should the actual form the text takes be an issue?

What, then, is it about a book that works? Paper has a ‘more obvious topography’, with an open book having a set way of presenting information (having eight corners), with the act of turning a page a natural rhythm to let you know how far you have come, and how far you still have to go. In contrast it is stated that e-readers ‘interfere with intuitive navigation of a text and inhibit people from mapping the journey in their minds’.

When comparing reading paper documents and on-screen documents, a comparison of pdf reading showed that the paper pdf seemed to be better suited to absorption. Books also give a sense of serendipity and control, with readers preferring paper for depth reading. It has been suggested that screens are mentally tiring, with scrolling in particular being mentally draining.

More recently it has been proposed that it is the attitude of the reader that may differ in how they navigate texts – they may not bring as much mental effort to a screen, seeing it as not “serious reading”. People that read on screen also tend to take more short cuts, spending more time browsing, scanning and hunting for keywords.

Importantly, the author surmises that this may not be true for a new generation of readers who will grow up without the sentimental attachment to paper, and understand the convenience of the digital product. A comparison is made to the music sector where people, despite initial resistance, now love ‘curating, organising and sharing digital music today’. Maybe the future of digital reading lies in social sharing?

The final question asked is why try and make the digital reading experience mirror the paper one? After all for many the ‘… convenience of a slim portable e-reader outweighs any attachment they might have to the feel of paper books’. As with digital exhibits (which I’ve been immersed in lately!) the technology should be used for what it does best – provide rich media that extend the reader’s experience to enhance and deepen learning in a convenient, portable format available anywhere, anytime. Perhaps, instead of lamenting the end of the paper text as we know it, let’s ‘… turn scrolling into a strength rather than a weakness’ and use each form for what they’re best suited to.


Since writing this piece I came across an article (via @chess65) Your paper brain and your Kindle brain aren’t the same thing, which notes, similar to the above, that our brains process reading very differently: ‘… many of us have adapted to reading online just too well. And if you don’t use the deep reading part of your brain, you lose the deep reading part of your brain’. The article concludes that in future we’ll need a ‘discerning “bi-literate” brain’ that responds to the variety of texts available to us – both on screen and on paper.