Mobile information appliances for museums

Earlier this month, the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) announced its support for a project to develop hand-held, touch-screen, wireless computers that will ‘offer a host of relevant information including text, video, pictures and sound’ when pointed at a museum exhibit. The breathless stream-of-buzzwords tone is probably just par for […]

Cultivating unprogrammed learning

There are some intriguing observations in Measuring the Outcomes and Impact of Learning in Museums Archives and Libraries. For example, “Not all museums, archives and libraries see themselves as places that should primarily on the learning experiences of their users,” and apparently many of these organisations do not know why people use their materials and […]

Online art review

The Furtherfield web site is an online platform for the creation, promotion, criticism and archiving of adventurous digital/net art. I’ve joined the team of reviewers, and you can read and discuss my first review — of Linda Duvall’s Stained Linen.

Learning to serve God online

Something with a vaguely Easter flavour. Never mind that Alanis Morissette wants to use her ordination as a minister to marry gay couples and spite George W. Bush (laudable though her intent may be); what caught my attention was that she became ordained via an online course. Last year I cited some critiques of e-learning […]

Defining cultural learning

I’m interested in how to explore the learning potential of cultural archives and collections — without slipping into semi-animated-catalogue syndrome — so I was grateful to Martin Bazley yesterday for pointing out a useful inclusive definition of learning from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council: “Learning is a process of active engagement with experience. It […]

David Byrne and the (bogus) PowerPoint art debate

Last autumn there was a flurry of comment spurred by Wired pitching Information Design guru Edward Tufte against artist and musician David Byrne on the pros and cons of Microsoft’s PowerPoint software. Tufte argued that PowerPoint is Evil for “elevating format over content”, while, in Learning to Love PowerPoint, Byrne said “I soon realized I […]

E-commerce usability

Last week I resolved a dispute with an e-commerce service provider after two weeks of email arguments and contacting several third parties. The dispute hinged on the usability of the page on the retailer’s web site that came up when I clicked the ‘cancel membership’ button: the page left me with no obvious next step, […]