The school as the crowd: adventures in crowdsourcing with schoolsPaper
Ally Davies, Museum of London, UK, Rhiannon Looseley, Museum of London, UK
Published paper: The school as the crowd: Adventures in crowdsourcing with schools
Heritage organisations have embraced the use of crowdsourcing in recent years, and the Museum of London has experimented with using this model specifically with a schools' audience. Two departments (Information Resources and Learning) piloted the "Tag London" project, each hoping to meet some discrete needs: to improve online collections data and engage a large number of schoolchildren. The museum was attracted to the idea of a project in which participants actively engaged with museum objects whilst also helping improve data.
The result was a website that invited eight- to fourteen-year-old children to categorise a selection of museum objects by object type and time period. The initial pilot with some three hundred students produced valuable and encouraging insights. A subsequent consultation with a much broader sample of teachers went on to highlight potential flaws with the project.
As a result of a clear disconnect between the museum’s and teachers’ expectations, which saw teachers reporting a need for adjustments to the product that would have worked against the fundamental principle of crowdsourcing, the museum was required to reflect on what constitutes an acceptable level of compromise in a project intended to benefit all parties.
This paper explores the role of choice in participation (were the school students more digital conscripts than digital volunteers?) and the importance of the teacher as gatekeeper. Tag London suggests assumptions made about one crowdsourcing approach cannot necessarily be applied to another and reflects on the use of crowdsourcing in a formal learning environment. The museum ultimately decided to pause its use of Tag London with schools, and this paper details what informed this decision.
Bew, Paul (2010). ‘Review of Key Stage 2 testing, assessment and accountability: progress report’, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/180401/DFE-00035-2011.pdf, accessed 10/12/14.
Black, Graham (2007). The Engaging Museum: Developing Museums for Visitor Involvement. Abingdon: Routledge.
Dodd, Jocelyn (1992). ‘Whose museum is it anyway?’ In Eilean Hooper-Greenhill (Ed.) The Educational Role of the Museum (2005). Abingdon: Routledge, 131–133.
Gove, Michael (July 2013). Written statement to Parliament: ‘Education reform: schools’, https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/education-reform-schools, accessed 05/01/15.
Gove, Michael (September 2013). Speech: ‘Michael Gove speaks about the importance of teaching’, https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/michael-gove-speaks-about-the-importance-of-teaching, accessed 23/12/14.
Jensen, E. (2014). ‘Methods of getting feedback from teachers’, Group for Education in Museums discussion, 19/11/2014, https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A2=ind1411&L=GEM&F=&S=&P=91142, accessed 28/11/14.
Lynch, Bernadette (2011). ‘Whose cake is it anyway?’, http://www.phf.org.uk/downloaddoc.asp?id=547, accessed 17/11/14.
McBer, Hay (2000). ‘Research into Teacher Effectiveness: A Model of Teacher Effectiveness’, http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/4566/1/RR216.pdf, accessed 12/12/14.
Ridge, M. (2013). ‘From tagging to theorizing: deepening engagement with cultural heritage through crowdsourcing’. Curator: The Museum Journal 56(4), 435–450.
Ridge, M. (Ed.) (2014). Crowdsourcing our Cultural Heritage. Farnham: Ashgate.
Simon, Nina (2010). The Participatory Museum, http://www.participatorymuseum.org/chapter1/, accessed 27/11/14.
British Museum Object Names Thesaurus, Trustees of The British Museum and Collections Trust, (1999).
http://www.collectionstrust.org.uk/assets/thesaurus_bmon/Objintro.htm, accessed 09/12/14.
Collections Online, Museum of London, http://collections.museumoflondon.org.uk/Online, accessed 05/01/15.
Computing Key Stages 3 & 4, National Curriculum for England, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/239067/SECONDARY_national_curriculum_-_Computing.pdf, accessed 23/12/14.
National Union of Teachers (NUT) Teachers’ New Year Message January 2014, https://www.teachers.org.uk/files/final-yougov-nut-survey-report-10jan14.doc, accessed 9/12/14.
Teacher’ workload diary survey 2013 research report, (February 2014). Department of Education, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/285941/DFE-RR316.pdf, accessed 23/12/14.
Your Paintings Tagger, The Public Catalogue Foundation, http://tagger.thepcf.org.uk, accessed 05/01/15.