Gregg Interactive Learning Studio

Topic: Technology

Case Study

of an Exhibit

by Todd Kent

Published on October 02, 2007

  • Museum: Seacoast Science Center Focus: Aquarium

  • Collaborating Organization(s): Boston Productions, Immersion Presents, NOAA, University of New Hampshire

  • My role: As the lead project manager and designer, my role was to work with the rest of the Center's staff to come up with a design that meet all the needs of the Center. Flexibility was the key to the final design. I had to create a space that was extremely versatile as well as functional. Seacoast Science Center prides itself on its ability to adapt programming to different educational needs in a short timeframe. The space needed to "change its personality" from one program to the next every day. Microscopy, dissections, Power Points with video feeds, distance education, home school, and the GeoAdventures, Assignment: Gulf of Maine are just a small sample of what the studio needed to do every day. Through the use of mobile furniture and adaptive technologies, the room was designed to handle those needs. Budgets were a major consideration. With a finite budget to work under, off-the-shelf technologies were applied as much as possible to insure maximum value was achieved. This project took 3 years of planning and about 8 months of construction to complete.

  • Description and goals

    The Seacoast Science Center has created a unique distance learning facility, a true a marine education Classroom of the Future. Building on the Center’s dramatic seaside location, long-standing track record for high quality field exploration and blossoming technological opportunities, this classroom transports students and visitors to and from places they could only imagine—up until now. This classroom is their virtual passport to the National Marine Sanctuaries where they will be able to personally explore underwater habitats such as the kelp forests of Monterey Bay and ancient ship wrecks off the coast of Turkey. For the first time in northern New England, students and the public are “on deck” with world-renowned deep ocean explorers and scientists as they unravel the ocean’s mysteries.
    In the Gregg Interactive Learning Studio, educational opportunities flow both ways. The Center is renowned for inter-tidal field education experiences. Visitors and students fortunate enough to explore its coastal habitats are inevitably left with a heightened appreciation of the ocean and an enhanced personal connection with the natural world. Through the Gregg Interactive Learning Studio, that remarkable field experience can be broadcast to other institutions for the enrichment of their visitors and program participants. Seacoast Science Center has become a true distance education provider. Through our inter-tidal field education programs, students in far away locations can take virtual field trips with us on the rocky shore and explore this amazing habitat.

    The Gregg Interactive Learing Studio was constructed as a theater space with 32 flat-panel touch screen workstations, three large screens at the front, a presenter’s station with built-in aquarium, production booth with video and audio production capabilities and Internet2 video conferencing. The classroom computer infrastructure consists of the 32 individual workstations, a series of high-end servers capable of compiling the student exercises and a video server capable of high definition projection on the large screens and video conferencing broadcast.

    As part of the visitor experience, the studio plays host to a 12 minute interactive show. GeoAdventures, Assignment: Gulf of Maine places the audience on an environmental geo-caching adventure with three teens as they explore different environments in New Hampshire. These teens are looking for caches that hold clues to how many of the natural environments in the state are connected to the Gulf of Maine. Using the touch screens in front of them, visitors must help the adventurers unravel these clues through games and puzzles. With cutting edge video production, lighting, special effects, interactive media, and sound; this show gives visitors the big “wow” and a deeper understanding about how these different environments in New Hampshire are connected to the Gulf of Maine. Our goal is to inspire more students of the importance of becoming environmental stewards of our world’s oceans.

    When not in use for electronic programming, the classroom setting is used for conventional school and visitor programs.

Latest Comments (1)

Smart Film

by Hedy Ni - November 14, 2007

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