WHAT IS MUSEUM BOX?
Museum Box is a free, online presentation tool that allows users to compile images, text, video and other forms of media. As an alternative to other presentation methods and research papers, users can curate and collect information to support arguments, describe events and people, and represent ideas. Museum Box offers educators the opportunity to diverge from traditional presentation tools and incorporate editing and research skills seamlessly into projects. Examples of user-created Museum Boxes can be viewed in the gallery.
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WHO REVIEWED MUSEUM BOX?
I used Museum Box with my undergraduate teacher education students as a way to display content specific information using technology. I thought that through Museum Box, they would have a way to display a traditionally written text, as well as images, videos and other resources found on the internet that are traditionally difficult to use in research papers.
Each student selected a topic, researched the topic, and then used Museum Box to create “boxes” that displayed what they had learned about the topic. My goal was for them to determine if this would be a viable tool to use in their classrooms once they became teachers. We also used Museum Box to look at previously created boxes to see if any contained content that would help them teach concepts in their future classrooms.
My students were surprised at the wide range of boxes created. They felt some students used it very well, and incorporated information with the images in a helpful way.
It was also clear to them that some students were carried away with the ability to add videos and images, and spent too much time developing those as opposed to creating a well researched piece. They felt it was a good way to incorporate technology into a traditionally “dry” research paper assignment.
I used this with one of my classes last week and plan to use it with more classes in the coming weeks. My goal was to find an alternative to PowerPoint presentations. I feel like when the students want to share information and visuals, they always turn to PowerPoint.
Museum Box is great as an alternative! I had students create basic Museum Boxes of one part of a country project they are working on. We spent one class period working it, and the site worked well. Once I showed it to them (6th graders), they were able to really go off on their own. They uploaded text, images, and sounds.
The next time we do this, we are going to try to incorporate video. The site provides a helpful video that I showed students at the beginning of lesson, and really did a lot of the work for me in terms of explaining stuff. Students shared some of their Museum Boxes with one another in class. I intend on giving them more time to complete the boxes and share them with the entire class in a future lesson.
Students found the site to be fun and easy to use overall. They were pleased to find Museum Box easy to use, different than PowerPoint, and loved that they could upload lots of different files: pictures, text, PowerPoints, documents, sound, video. Some found that sometimes the website was a little slow (20 people accessing the site at once) and that images in the image library were not always useful.
TIPS FOR CLASSROOM IMPLEMENTATION:
- Classroom teachers need to sign up ahead of time to be able to create accounts for their students. If your school is not already on their list, you will need to set it up, then wait for a confirmation from them before creating student accounts. This took less than a week, but is definitely something to consider before creating the assignment.
- Give the students very clear, specific directions to ensure they develop “research” and not just a compilation of unrelated images. The quality of the museum box depends on the focus they are given.
- It can be a bit “clunky” when setting up. Spend time getting accounts set up and playing with it before you are ready to use it with students.
- Plan on showing them how to use it with a projector so they can see what you are doing. It may require some modeling on your part.
- You may want to have students preload their flash drives with images that they plan on using for the activity.
- Try to have at least a 50 minute class period to allow students to explore all this site has to offer.