Time Lens: an app for family-centred learning at Melbourne Museum

Jonathan Shearer, Australia

Museum Victoria launched Time Lens, a free scavenger hunt app for families visiting Melbourne Museum in July 2013. Within the first two weeks there were more than 800 downloads and five star ratings on both the iOS and Google Play app stores.

Time Lens represents a targeted way to use mobile devices to help families explore the collection objects, exhibitions and themes presented throughout the museum. Incentive and reward is provided through unlockable badges and light hearted animations, but the intent of the app is not to be an experience that takes place on the screen of the device, instead being a mechanism to guide families to points of interest within the museum and give them launching off points for discussion around the significance of each object.

Scientific and historical vocabulary is used in context, but not defined, allowing parents and children, whether the children are literate or pre-literate, to discuss the concepts and understand these new terms.

Time Lens was developed in-house as a partnership between Education & Community Programs and Digital & Emerging Technologies departments.  This development process will be explored as part of our demonstration, from analysis of audience needs and curatorial review to testing and evaluation.

Time Lens is a curriculum relevant product. The experience directly targets the Family-Centred Learning domain of the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework, a curriculum for children aged 0-8 years old.

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