PiCO: Projectors in Collaboration (completed)

About the project

PiCO explores the use of pico projectors (handheld digital projectors) and mobile phones for learning in museum spaces. The relationship between screens and physical museum spaces serves as the backdrop for examining these learning interactions.


As computers, mobile devices, and digital media have become more commonplace in museums, the significance of the screen as a mediating tool has increased. The screen, and its relationship to museum architecture, exhibition space, knowledge representations, and social interaction, serves as the background for the design research. The aim of this small study is to explore how emerging projector technologies may be used in conjunction with mobile phones in ways that may enhance communication and collaborative learning interactions with shared knowledge representations in science center and museum spaces.

The following research questions are addressed in this study: How might face-to-face collaborations be organized in museum spaces using mobile projectors in ways that can support communication and learning? Which types of exhibit interactions are afforded by the use of mobile projectors?


1) Identify affordances of these projectors in terms of collaborative interactions in museum spaces.

2) Explore the process and methodology of the Future Use Workshop (Vavoula & Sharples, 2008).

Theory and methods

This project will primarily be conducted through two half-day exploratory workshops. The workshops will involve 8 youths grouped from ages 10-12 and 15-17 along with 6 experts in museum design, research, and education as well as from the mobile phone industry. The use workshop will involve modeling, role-play, scenario building and discussion along with play and manipulation of pico-projectors and phones. Participants will also create and perform tasks in simulated museum spaces. The sessions will move back and forth between small group activities and larger group reflections.

Funding and timeframe

Funded by: EngageLab

Timeframe: 2009-2009


Steier, R. (submitted) Projecting Knowledge: Mobile Projectors, Space, and Collaborative Learning in Museums, MLearn 2009 conference, Orlando, Florida.


Published Sep. 16, 2010 8:58 AM - Last modified Oct. 29, 2010 11:14 AM