Almost 90% of Spanish teenagers have a smartphone. This is one of the reasons why the institutions with which we work have opted for this digital channel to spread our heritage. But the key is the question that comes immediately after and which affects all countries around us: How to get new generations to connect with culture?
We are currently working on the production of an interactive guide for the school visit to the Gaudi Palace and on various family proposals that will soon be integrated into the Spanish National Heritage multimedia guides. Before its launch, we want to share the path that has led us here and reflect on the international scene of multimedia guides for children and young people.
The concepts “interactive family guide” or “guide for schools” are the most suitable to define what we do. We seek that the experience is built from interaction with the environment and with other visitors, whether they are the same age or not.
The production of a children’s multimedia guide cannot therefore be reduced to the adaptation of audiovisual materials for certain age groups, but it must incorporate activities that can be solved in group work, as proposed, among other examples, by the Bolsover Castle (UK) school guide.
How do other cultural institutions do it?
After analyzing several very diverse international proposals (we cannot name them all here), we found a series of common factors that we consider essential:
- Attractive and dynamic voices: some institutions choose to introduce children’s voices so the visitor can identify with the narrator (such as the one of Museum of Fine Arts in Boston), others choose sympathetic adult voices (including serious voices) to distinguish their characters. Beyond the sex or age of the actors, what matters is that their way of narrate is dynamic. Avoiding monotony is the key and, to achieve this, the work of writers and broadcasters must be aligned. Listen, for example, to one of the narrations from the Denver Art Museums.
- Current sound effects and music: we know that 75.6% of adolescents use the Internet to listen to music. So, a selection of animated musical pieces, even inspired by the video game world, will be a success. Check out the MET Museum’s video pieces on Greek pottery.
- Game dynamics: regardless of whether the guide is multimedia or not, what is certain is that almost all the proposals studied incorporate game dynamics. Normally the adventure begins by locating the piece in question, and that is already part of the adventure. Have a look at the promotion of the Vatican Museums for their family tour, one of the most classic schemes.
- Parallel speech to the visit for adult public: it is essential that the itinerary corresponds to the tour for the adult public. If they also complement each other, much better.
If you want to know more about gamification proposals and shared experiences applied to your case, do not hesitate to contact us!
Illustrations and alternatives to animated characters
When choosing a tablet or a smartphone as a broadcast vehicle, it may seem that incorporating illustrations or animated characters is essential. However, there are only audio-based proposals that are a success. If you still do not believe us, read this mother’s opinion after her visit to The Norton Simon Museum (California).
Beyond this question of whether to incorporate animations or not, all those options and alternatives that mobile devices offer to experience the real thing must be considered: touch screens allow you to interact with museum pieces, relate concepts, focus observation, discover hidden perspectives, play and, above all, share.
We therefore conclude that animations are a valuable resource (not essential) to make a successful family multimedia guide, interactive games are a plus and the quality of the audio is decisive.
The future of the relationship between education and culture
During these study phases, we detected two trends that are especially revealing (collected in the EpData study):
- Minors who study Secondary education spend four hours more connected to the Internet than studying.
- Spanish adolescents “suspend” their teachers when evaluating how they are accompanied by new technologies.
In conclusion, digital technologies are the key to education and young people are demanding when it comes to evaluating multimedia training resources. Exploring their world and daring to be disruptive will be the key for the combination of education and museums to result in better educated generations with better knowledge of our culture.