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Improving Learning in Museums for Young Individuals
Russo, Watkins, and Groundwater-Smith (2015) veered the spotlight on social media and its role in facilitating learning among young people in different institutions such as museums and galleries. Museums and galleries are informal learning environments unlike the formal classroom setting. Nevertheless, Russo, Watkins, and Groundwater-Smith argued that social media may be used to transform informal learning environments such as museums and galleries and create learning opportunities for young individuals. Including learning opportunities in museums and galleries is important to supplement young individuals’ learning while inside museums or galleries.
Russo, Watkins, and Groundwater-Smith (2015) cited examples on how social media may be used in informal settings such as museums or galleries. Young individuals may use social networking sites not only to learn by receiving information from museums and galleries but also share learning with family and friends. Social media also engages young individuals in a way that allows them to collaborate with museums and galleries when it comes to generating and sharing information. Furthermore, integrating social media to services and offerings also helps museums and galleries, particularly in attracting young crowds as visitors.
While Russo, Watkins, and Groundwater-Smith (2015) suggested the integration of social media in museums and galleries, Henderson and Atencio (2007), on the other hand, proposed the integration of play, learning, and meaningful experiences in museums for young learners. Museums present different art works and artifacts that represent history and historical figures. Young children may visit museums to add to what they learn in the classroom. Nonetheless, Henderson and Atencio argued that museums may improve their learning environment by incorporating enjoyable and interesting learning experiences for young visitors. Henderson and Atencio’s (2007) proposal is based on play-based inquiry, an approach that allows children to learn during play.
Both articles are interesting because the solutions proposed to improve museums address urgent needs to increase learning opportunities in these setting. Furthermore, the proposed solution incorporates current trends – the use of social media – and addresses the needs of young learners – play and enjoyment during learning.
Art Programs for the Youth and Elderly
Ersing (2009) stressed the important role of community-based arts programs in helping the youth, particularly at-risk youth. Some children and adolescents experience situations that act as emotional stressors. These stressors significantly affect young individual’s performance in the classroom, as well as their personal wellbeing, particularly their self-esteem. Consequently, the emotional stressors also influence them to become violent or commit crime. Hence, emotional stressors influence youth to develop risk-taking behavior.
While Ersing (2009) proposed a program and approach to address at-risk youth, Goulding (2012), on the other hand, proposed arts as a means to provide lifelong learning opportunities for the elderly. Goulding explored a two-year research study, which sought to determine how arts could improve the quality of life of the elderly population. Based on the outcomes of research, Goulding asserted that art plays an important role in improving the elderly’s psychological wellbeing.
Overall, Ersin (2009) and Goulding (2012) have stressed the positive impact of art programs and activities in addressing social problems such as at-risk youth and providing lifelong learning opportunities for the elderly. Art programs and activities are beneficial to the wellbeing of both populations. The articles may be used to guide decision-making when it comes to developing programs for the youth and the elderly.
Ersing, R. L. (2009). Building the capacity of youths through community cultural arts: A positive youth development perspective. Best Practices in Mental Health, 5(1), pp. 26-42.
Goulding, A. (2012). Lifelong learning for people aged 64+ within the contemporary art gallery context. Educational Gerontology, 38, pp. 215-227.
Henderson, T. Z. & Atencio, D. J. (2007). Integration of play, learning and experience: What museums afford young visitors. Early Childhood Education Journal, 35, pp. 245-251.
Russo, A., Watkins, J. & Groundwater-Smith, S. (2015). The impact of social media on informal learning in museums. Educational Media International, 46(2), pp. 153-166.
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