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Ecsite highlights science centre trends for 2017

Mobile AR, New Media Education and the “Matthew Effect” have all been highlighted as potential trends affecting scientific institutions across the world, according to the European Network of Science Centers and Museums (Ecsite).

Ecsite’s digital publication Spokes highlighted these trends among others, using an amalgamation of professional predictions and analyses from a number of sources and speaking to a range of contemporaries from across Europe.

Ursula Lavrencic, concept developer and designer for Infotude and Informationlab in Slovenia discussed mobile augmented reality in wider context of the effect of AR and VR in relation to science engagement.

“Mobile AR will revolutionise how we perceive, teach about and understand our environment,” she said. “Together with VR this will cause higher demand for digital content provided by museums and science centres. Special attention should go to the scientific correctness, unbiased interpretations and open access to verified data.”

Also highlighted was New Media Education, exploring topics such as how the internet works, what a fact is and how social networks work.

“As science educators, we need to take a stance against post-truth and relativism,” said Laurent Chicoineau, director of Le Casemate in Grenoble, France. “In my opinion new media education has become a crucial part of science education.Together with our visitors, we need to explore these questions.”

One potentially negative trend is known as the “Matthew Effect” – a happenstance where scientific programmes are serving communities that are already well-served.

Highlighting the trend, Bronwyn Bevan, senior research scientist for the LIFE Center at the University of Washington, said there is a growing awareness that the Matthew Effect is helping “the rich get richer”.

“We need to ask ourselves who is actually benefitting from our work,” says Bevan. “If we’re redefining ourselves as places of dialogue between scientists, citizens and policymakers, we need to look at who we are bringing to the table. If they’re from the same social circles as the scientists or policymakers, what’s our added value?”

To read the full report exploring what 2017 trends mean for science engagement, including maker labs, fake news, neutrality and more, click here.

Ecsite  trends  science centre  science museum  visitor attraction  technology  matthew effect  mobile AR  new media education 
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Mobile AR, New Media Education and the “Matthew Effect” have all been highlighted as potential trends affecting scientific institutions across the world, according to the European Network of Science Centers and Museums (Ecsite). Ecsite’s digital publication Spokes highlighted these trends among others, using an amalgamation of professional predictions and analyses from a number of sources and speaking to a range of contemporaries from across Europe. Ursula Lavrencic, concept developer and
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The Matthew Effect questions who actually benefits from the work of science centres and how to create added value in terms of wider education / Shutterstock.com/Mariia Golovianko
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