Museum Affinity Spaces: The potential of a new framework for re-imagining museum-school partnerships and the flow experiences of children in immersive virtual learning environments


Stefania Savva, Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus, Nicos Souleles, Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus

This research shall give insights into the potential of a new theoretical framework for immersive virtual learning environments (IVLEs) to act as platforms for developing and evaluating museum-school partnerships for students. To examine the latter, this paper delves into the Museum Affinity Spaces (MAS) project, an empirically based, pedagogically driven research initiative funded by the Research Promotion Foundation in Cyprus (POST-DOC/0916/0248), entailing plans for a platform targeted at museums/galleries and learning institutions such as schools and universities, which allows them to form partnerships and be immersed in a virtual environment in order to enrich classroom experience and overcome the physical limitations of attending a cultural space.

The overall aim of the MAS project is to grant students with opportunities to gain experience of museums and cultural heritage beyond national boundaries and enhance their literacy repertoires by incorporating understandings of technology-enhanced museum learning as a multi-literacy practice. The intention is for school teachers, museum educators, and students to be able to use a virtual platform themselves and in collaboration with other parties from around Europe and the world, either through synchronous or asynchronous learning to develop learning activities deriving from museums. The project employs design-based research (DBR) and is structured to unfold in three phases: preliminary analysis, the prototyping stage, and implementation and evaluation or assessment. This presentation shall focus on the preliminary analysis and prototyping stage of the project, as it was carried out during the first six months since the project embarked.


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