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Fostering Active Prolonged Engagement

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Table of Contents

Foreword: The Importance of APE George Hein Preface Kathleen McLean Visitor Conversation: Circuit Workbench Introduction: The Evolution of APE Thomas Humphrey Observing APE Joshua Gutwill APE Tales An Introduction to the APE Tales Jessica Brainard Exploration Visitor Conversation: What's Hot, What's Not? Spinning Patterns Charles Sowers What's Hot, What's Not? Diane Whitmore Floating Objects Erik Thogersen Visible Vibrations Erik Thogersen Investigation Visitor Conversation: Downhill Race Gravity-Powered Calculator Erik Thogersen Downhill Race Tom Tompkins Ball Launcher Tom Tompkins Observation Visitor Conversation: Watch Water Freeze Watch Water Freeze Charles Sowers Flow Formations Charles Sowers Magnetic Labyrinth Charles Sowers Construction Visitor Conversation: Pulley Table Circuit Workbench Erik Thogersen Pulley Table Jessica Strick 3-D Shapes Diane Whitmore Make a Mobile Eric Dimond Shaking Shapes Diane Whitmore Reflecting on APE Joshua Gutwill and Erik Thogersen Acknowledgments Suppliers Bibliography

About the Author

Thomas Humphrey is Senior Scientist at the Exploratorium and a visiting faculty member at the San Francisco Art Institute. He is a nuclear physicist with a PhD from the California Institute of Technology and the recipient of numerous research grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and others. Joshua P. Gutwill a Senior Researcher at the Exploratorium. His work includes exhibit evaluations to improve visitors' experiences, and research on learning in informal environments. Before joining the Exploratorium in 1998, he was the Director of Assessment and Evaluation at UC Berkeley for a consortium of university faculty creating an innovative college chemistry curriculum. He received his Ph.D. in Education in Math, Science and Technology from UC Berkeley in 1996, conducting research on high school students' models of direct current electricity. His driving interest is to use research and evaluation methods to help educators (teachers, exhibit developers, curriculum designers) improve their practice.


'This books examines issues such as intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and individual control in multi-user exhibits. The team's persistence results in a final list of evidence for the success of APE exhibits that is persuasive and well documented.' Visitor Studies Today 'This project does more than acknowledge personal and social meaning-making; it celebrates it, and makes it the intended outcome of visitors' experiences. Few research studies in the museum literature attempt to assess this constructivist process goal so clearly... The authors also address another currently important topic: challenging the traditional authoritarian voice of museums. They recognize that APE exhibits at which visitors can ask their own questions, engage in inquiries over and above those suggested in the graphics, and take pleasure in "observing, playing, investigating, exploring, collaborating, searching, speculating," are empowering for visitors.' George Hein, Lesley University 'Thoughtful work on an interesting and important topic, the findings from this undertaking are a valuable contribution to the field.' Deborah Perry, Selinda Research Association 'This book should serve as a valuable resource to anyone who is interested in how, and why, visitors interact with exhibits the way they do. Reading each of the stories about the often circuitous path to exhibit success made me appreciate how tricky it is to create exhibit experiences that encourage active, prolonged engagement.More importantly, reading the APE exhibit development 'war stories' gave me added incentive to get back into the workshop to improve on my own exhibit projects!' Paul Orselli, Paul Orselli Workshop 'They examine issues such as intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and individual control in multi-user exhibits. The team's persistence results in a final list of evidence for the success of APE exhibits that is persuasive and well documented.' Visitor Studies Today

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