One of the benefits of preparing grant proposals is the opportunity to practice, yet again, restating who we are, why we’re here, how we’re doing, and where we’re going. The following is a quick excerpt from our recent Digital Projects of the Public proposal, a National Endowment for the Humanities proposal that may fund our development of a Design Document that will guide the construction of our Virtual Museum. Those details are available, but for now, here’s an overview in case you’ve wanted to step back and see our bigger picture.
(excerpt from HCLE’s grant proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Projects for the Public – slightly edited for this post)
HCLE is in its first phase of development, that is, creating its conceptual framework, content focus and presentation platforms. Its aim is to create an “edutainment” resource that enlarges public understanding of the nature and extent of educational change and what this change means in the individual visitor’s life. As technology becomes a larger part of everyone’s daily activities, instruction focuses less on teachers in classrooms and more on the situated learner. The definition of ‘student’ now extends to everyone who has to learn about a new app or device, upgrade a household system or master a new way of shopping. We are expected to teach ourselves, even to the point of researching history through conventional sources or through crowdsourced content like wikipedia. Then we have to evaluate the validity of the information we garner. How did this change happen? What were its perpetrators thinking? How can we adapt? Drawing on the content of LO*OP Center’s archive of historical documents, images, hardware and software from the 1960s to the 1990s and on subsequent contributions from other collectors, HCLE will use current cultural studies methods to design an engaging, informative and thought provoking internet destination.
LO*OP Center, Inc.’s HCLE Virtual Museum project has four goals:
- to collect, preserve, and provide access to the documents, software, images and stories that describe the history of how learning and education changed because of computing between 1960 and 1990;
- to provide a highly-accessible, web-based, scholarly resource for use by researchers ranging in expertise from young students to university faculty;
- to curate the collection, interpret it so that the general public can learn about the cultural ferment that occurred during this period and think critically about its implications for themselves and their children;
- to present this material to the public on the internet in attractive, entertaining and user-friendly formats.
The intent of the museum is to create an online environment that can be explored by anyone with internet access; to present original documents, images and software in an engaging format; to exhibit these artifacts so that their significance can be appreciated and visitors are invited to think critically about the ongoing implications of this revolution in their lives.
The Design Document will describe the technical, resource, and experiential specifications for the virtual museum.
The Virtual Museum will incorporate the shared experience of humanities scholars who focus on interpreting their work to the lay public, museum professionals and digital media practitioners.
Thank you for your interest and look forward to any help you can contribute. In the meantime, follow this blog and our wiki for updates.