Seeing Tornado: How Video Traces mediate visitor understandings of (natural?) phenomena in a science museum

Reed Stevens*, Rogers Hall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article reports an exploratory study of how people see and explain a prominent exhibit (Tornado) at an interactive science museum (the Exploratorium). Our data was assembled using a novel, technically mediated activity system (Video Traces) that allowed visitors to reflect with an interviewer on video records of their own visits to the exhibit. We present qualitative data comparing initial visits to the exhibit with those in the Video Traces environment to argue that Video Traces offers a promising means of exploring visitors' current understandings of exhibit phenomena, as well as mediating new understandings of these phenomena. We illustrate this argument with two vignettes drawn from our data that show the flexibility of Video Traces for supporting different forms of inquiry. Finally, we discuss how an expanded Video Traces system could provide ongoing opportunities for representation and inquiry at interactive science centers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)735-747
Number of pages13
JournalScience Education
Volume81
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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