The InterMedia Research Seminar - Designing Bridges. Structures for Learning Across Sites

Digital representations and technologies that create new arenas for social interactions are some of the ‘design tools’ explored as means to support learning and meaning making across sites. The InterMedia Research Seminar "Designing Bridges" presents current work by leading international experts on the conceptualization and design of learning activities and technologies in schools and museums.

Designing Bridges. Structures for Learning Across Sites

The theme of this seminar is the conceptualization, design, and study of ‘bridging’ learning activities within and across school and museum settings. The field of technology-enhanced learning has researched the ways in which knowledge building and collaboration may be supported by new technologies and digital representations in school contexts for several decades. More recently, researchers have recognized museums and science centers as important sites for such explorations.

In museums of art, science, and cultural heritage, the thematic and chronological displays of objects and scientific knowledge are deeply rooted in epistemological practices that facilitate different modes of experience and meaning making than what young people experience in school. This invites the investigation of alternative learning interactions and the ways in which scientific concepts develop through encounters with original artefacts and innovative exhibitions.

Moreover, museums and science centers have over several decades developed pedagogical models and instructional practices designed to bridge unique museum experiences with young people’s learning in school. In this seminar we explore pedagogical models and the design of technologies, objects and activities that aim to connect meanings and events across time and space. The following research questions frame the discussion:
Which perspectives on disciplinary knowledge and guidance are relevant for learning designs in the respective settings of schools and museums? How are digital technologies – e.g., mobile phones, social media, and virtual environments – currently investigated as means of bridging learning across contexts?


  • Seating for this event is limited. Lunch will be provided for seminar participants, and all participants are welcome to the reception after the seminar. No seminar fee is required.
  • Please use the online form to register your participation.
  • Deadline for registration is October 22.
  • Download program here!


Scientific coordinators: Dr. Palmyre Pierroux and Dr. Anders Kluge
Contact person: Kari-Anne Ulfsnes


09:00-09:15 Coffee/tea
                    Opening. Per Hetland, Director of InterMedia

09:15-10:00 Building disciplinary bridges for connected learning in and out of museums
                     Kevin Crowley, University of Pittsburgh

10:00-10:45 Models, concepts, and multi-touch: Designing a learning trajectory for a traveling architecture exhibition
                    Palmyre Pierroux, InterMedia

10:45-11:30 Learning by Design in Virtual and Museum Settings: Pedagogical considerations and lessons learned.
                    Peter Reimann, University of Sydney

11:30-12:15 Lunch

12:15-13:00 Connecting through the gallery: Thinking about disciplinary traces and transfer in an interactive museum setting.
                     Karen Knutson, University of Pittsburgh

13:00-13:45 Transactive Collaboration Scripts for Technology-Enhanced Learning.
                     [ Armin Weinberger], Saarland University

13:45-14:30 Design of learning and experimental spaces in and across school and museum settings.
                     Ingeborg Krange, InterMedia

14:30-15:00 Break

15:00-15:45 What do you know: Use of models and simulations for learning science across contexts.
                    Anders Kluge, InterMedia

15:45-16:30 Science 2.0: Bridging Science and the Public.
                    Per Hetland, InterMedia

16:30-17:30 Reception: tapas, wine


Building disciplinary bridges for connected learning in and out of museums (Kevin Crowley)

Families are learning systems that provide essential constraints to guide how children engage with and learn about science in out of school contexts. We see museums as important designed environments that can strengthen the learning systems of families. They are rehearsal environments for ways of engaging with disciplinary learning. The bet is that if families learn practices in supportive designed environments, they will transfer those practices into everyday settings. I will review three studies that provide direct evidence about the ways in which museum learning connects across space and time. One study explored ways that parents facilitate transfer of scientific reasoning strategies learned in a museum. A second study was a training study where parents learned a strategy for conversational elaboration while engaged in observation in botanical gardens. The third study examined transfer in conversational practices among families who visited a museum exhibition designed to support engineering talk. Findings suggest new directions for learning sciences theory and design of experiences that could provide learning bridges across museum and everyday settings.
Models, concepts, and multi-touch: Designing a learning trajectory for a traveling architecture exhibition (Palmyre Pierroux)

Museums have a tradition of working innovatively with technologies and pedagogical models that can support engagement and learning for students on school visits. In this presentation, I discuss research on the design of pedagogical activities and a multi-touch table application for a museum exhibition that will travel to schools throughout Norway. An important challenge was to integrate small group interactions using a multitouch table into a trajectory of whole class learning activities that span several sites during the course of 2 days. The aim of the multidisciplinary task for middle school students (age 12-15) is to support students' understanding of concepts in architecture design. The exhibition is produced by the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design and features the design of Oslo Opera by the internationally renowned architectural firm Snøhetta. The students are assigned the task of collaborating in groups to design a new cultural center in their local environment, modeling their inquiry and design process on architects' expert knowledge practices.
Learning by Design in Virtual and Museum Settings:Pedagogical Considerations and Lessons Learned (Peter Reimann)

School classes are frequent visitors of science and technology museums. One of the largest museums of this kind in Australia is the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. We worked with this museum on a project with the goal to develop a pedagogical framework that would help to align schools' curricular goals with the activities available to students during a typical 'museum day'. For the targeted area "computer and information technologies", the Powerhouse Museum has a permanent exhibition "Cyberworlds". In this presentation, I will describe our approach to pedagogy, which relies heavily on learning by design: Students 'task' was to design an exhibition themselves, using some of the artifacts (represented as pictures) presented in the real museum exhibition. Our pedagogical approach combined on-line design activities, employing a simple 3D-authoring tool, with visits to the museum. For the museum visits, students used tablet PCs and had free access to the exhibition as well as some opportunity to talk to the curator responsible for the exhibition. I will further report some of the observations and findings from the research we conducted with the students, building on a variety of data sources and analysis methods.
Connecting through the gallery:Thinking about disciplinary traces and transfer in an interactive museum setting (Karen Knutson)

Museums are informal learning environments that can be designed to provide experiences that reflect disciplinary thinking and support explanatory engagement. While the field has made progress in describing and documenting how museum experiences, (in particular conversations) might reflect disciplinary thinking, we haven’t yet looked closely at how these experiences travel across settings. This project explored how families moved from a traditional art museum context to an interactive space with stations designed to support specific kinds of learning around the same art objects. How were families able to transfer ideas and experience across settings? In addition to the considerable methodological challenges involved in tracking learning experiences from one informal setting to another, the work also requires careful consideration of potential and possible learning outcomes. I present some of the challenges and outline some areas for future exploration.
Design of learning and experimental spaces in and across school and museum settings (Ingeborg Krange)

abstract forthcoming
Transactive Collaboration Scripts for Technology-Enhanced Learning (Armin Weinberger)

One of the crucial issues in technology-enhanced learning environments is the transactivity of learners' interactions, i.e. the extent to which learners build on others' reasoning. Learners without additional guidance to critically review others' arguments and construct sound arguments themselves rarely engage in transactive interactions. Instead, learners often orientate themselves towards minimal requirements of a learning task and quickly build false consensus. Certain collaboration scripts have been found to facilitate learners' transactivity and actual knowledge convergence. Collaboration scripts specify, sequence, and distribute roles and activities among learners across different learning arrangements and scenarios. In this contribution some of the functions and dysfunctions of various scripts will be discussed for bridging learning in school and out.
What Do You Know: Use of models and simulations for learning across context in science (Anders Kluge)

Digital technology presents a huge potential for learning complex relations. In this presentation I discuss how models and simulations can be explored interactively, overcoming real-world limits of time and space. In particular, I examine the challenges of combining use and learning perspectives when models and simulations are introduced in different contexts.
Science 2.0: Bridging Science and the Public (Per Hetland)

Collaborative technologies give new possibilities for doing science and to include lay people in the knowledge production. This paper aims to contribute to the understanding of public participation and the possibilities for co-production of scientific knowledge. Systematic biology and the mapping of biodiversity is a growing field in Science 2.0. The museum collections are the backbone of taxonomic and bio-geographical research. In this paper I will look into how social networking, participation, apomediation, collaboration and openness influence how multi-actor spaces for biodiversity studies are shaped and the importance of boundary objects in this respect.


Kevin Crowley is Director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE) and an associate professor of education and psychology. UPCLOSE is a project of the Learning Research and Development Center and School of Education. UPCLOSE conceptualizes, develops, and studies informal learning experiences. Our work explores what it means to learn and change as a result of activity in everyday environments including museums, commercial and community settings, on the web, and at home.

Palmyre Pierroux has a background in art history, environmental design, and the learning sciences. Her research investigates relations between contemporary art theory and sociocultural perspectives on meaning production, with a particular focus on digitally mediated learning environments. She is engaged in the nationally funded research project CONTACT, which investigates the transformative role of technologies in knowledge practices in collaboration with the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design. Pierroux participates in several international research networks, including NordLearn, a Nordic Network of National Centre of Excellence and The Culture of Ubiquitous Information, a Nordic research network funded by NordForsk.

Peter Reimann is currently Professor for Education at the University of Sydney, Australia. His primary research area are the learning sciences, with a focus on computer-supported collaborative learning. Further interests and areas of research include computer-enhanced formative assessment, mobile learning, and learning by modeling. Peter received his PhD from the University of Freiburg, Germany, and held positions there as well as at the Learning Research & Development Centre (Pittsburgh, USA) and the University of Heidelberg before moving to Sydney. There he co-founded the Centre for Research on Computer-supported Learning and Cognition (CoCo), now one of the leading learning sciences centers in Australia and the Region. Recent activities include conference co-chair of the CSCL conference 2009 and of the ICCE conference 2010. Together with Michael Jacobson, Peter will host the next International Conference for the Learning Sciences in 2012 in Sydney. A recent book publication is Jacobson, M. J., & Reimann, P. (Eds.). (2010). Designs for learning environments of the future. International perspectives from the learning sciences. New York: Springer.

Karen Knutson has a background in art history and art education. Her research interests include understanding visitor learning and organizational practices in museums, and the ways in which academic disciplines are designed and enacted in informal learning environments. Current work focuses on conceptualizing art museums as learning environments. As Associate Director of UPCLOSE (University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out of School Environments), she has worked with many museums on studies of learning in programs and exhibits, in art, children's, science and natural history contexts. She was co-author of Listening in on Museum Conversations (Altamira, 2004), and co-editor of Learning conversations in Museums (LEA 2002) and has published articles in Curator, Science Education, Visitor Studies, and the Journal of Museum Education.

Ingeborg Krange has worked with issues related to the design of virtual worlds for more than a decade, and she has conducted several studies of how these worlds can be used for educational purposes. She emphasizes the importance of knowledge representations and dialogical aspects of interactions between peers and their teachers. Krange has several publication in international journals linked to science education. She is now affiliated with InterMedia, University of Oslo, Norway, and is the project leader of the MIRACLE project.

Armin Weinberger main research interests are Scripts for Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, Argumentative Knowledge Construction, Cross-Cultural Education, and Research Methods of Collaborative Learning. Armin is Professor of Educational Technology and Knowledge Management at Saarland University. His former engagements include the University of Twente, The Netherlands, the University of Munich, the University of Tübingen, and the Knowledge Media Research Center, Germany.

Anders Kluge is a researcher and co-director at InterMedia, University of Oslo. His main research interest is use of technology and interaction design, and he leads InterMedia’s participation in the large EU project SCY (Science By You). Kluge started in applied research at Norwegian Computing Centre as researcher and later as research director, working in the early days of electronic commerce and multimedia in the 1990s. He earned his Dr.Scient degree from Institute of Informatics, University of Oslo 2005. He worked as an advisor at the Norwegian Research Council, joining InterMedia in 2007.

Per Hetland is trained in Social Anthropology and Social Studies of Science and Technology. His research interests include the new institutional landscape of knowledge production, public communication of science and technology and application and user aspects of new media technology.

The seminar is sponsored by (former ITU) the National Centre for ICT in Education, under the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research


Published Oct. 12, 2010 11:08 AM - Last modified June 10, 2013 3:33 PM