Ignite MCN 2021: I am an educator, I speak for the learners

I am an educator, I speak for the learners (IGNITE)


Unknown Speaker 00:00
Next up, we've got Miranda Kerr. After 10 years at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Miranda recently launched her own consulting business just last year, where he leads organizations and their digital transformation and educational projects. Also a first time Ignite speaker just like Kate matrial really excited to have a fellow Chicago in here in the house and here to welcome longtime us MCA friend. So go ahead and take it away, Miranda.

Unknown Speaker 00:36
So my grandpa, my grandma, my mom, and my aunt, we're all teachers. I'm a teacher, but I have stretched in different ways moving into the sciences and pushing the limits of innovative teaching methods with digital learning. But being an educator runs deep in me, I'd love to spark your curiosity about how see stars actually spit their guts out of their mouths, digest their food externally and then slurp it back in. I'd love to talk about the glowing bioluminescence in the deep sea and how and why that all works. But you'll have to ask me about those later. Today I'm talking about museum educators and our learners. I want you to think of a time when an educator at a museum or a school opens your mind to something new or helps you find a passion. This Ignite is dedicated to all teachers. Thank you. The American alliance of museums has education and interpretation as a core standard for museums, which includes things like education goals, understanding audiences and continuous improvement of activities. Yet during COVID-19 education staff are among the most impacted after the frontline staff who had reductions as high as 68%. Education was the most impacted by covid 19 layoffs and furloughs, including me. The am survey had 40% of museums reporting a reduction in the education workforce, and 67% of museums cut back on their education programming. In a survey that I conducted, I asked 25 of my museum education colleagues about their work, and they cited similar reductions in staff and ours. We also need to acknowledge the low pay of education staff, which leads to issues of diversity and inclusion because only people with family or partner wealth can even afford to work in museum education. One of the survey respondents told me, I can't afford to keep working here and won't. I told my boss two years ago, my goal was to get off of food stamps, and I make the same amount now. In my survey, I asked education staff what they wish the rest of the museum knew about their work, I'd like to share some of their answers with you now. We don't just play with crayons, glue and glitter all day, we actually have an important role that should be touching every department in the museum. Because we specialize in talking to audiences, especially young audiences and intergenerational audiences. And we are experts at presenting information for various learning styles and abilities. Another person shared, we are in charge of creating programming that conveys what our stance is on anti racism, colonialism, capitalism, and other important topics. But we aren't always given a seat at the table when planning and making those decisions. I wish other departments and board members realized how integral our work is. And finally, that a museum without education is just a box of stuff. Stop treating us like secondary to the mission. educators have unmeasurable value for our organizations, we create programming that is central to the mission of the museum. Even if UX isn't in our job description UX is exactly what we do. Reaching everyone from preschoolers to adults while using inclusive design strategies to make sure everyone is involved. So how can you connect to the Education team at your institution? Have you sought their feedback on a website or an exhibit interactive? preferably before you started building it? Have you asked for inspiring stories of learners that you could share on social? Do you know what programs your education teams currently working on how you could support or connect to their work? educators are natural shares we would love to talk about our ideas we'd love to help you solve problems. We have planned for so many what ifs, that we may see something in a way you hadn't even considered. So please ask us. Ask us how school groups travel through the museum. Ask us about how hard topics should be presented to children versus adults. Ask us how caregivers need to navigate the website for summer camp registration. asked us what content we've seen learners really connect with we have stories. Please help break the silos. have lunch with someone from your education department. Invite them to be a part of your project team, no matter what it is. education should be the core of every Museum's mission. Otherwise, why do we have this stuff? Ask us about our recent experience with a learner I promise you will leave reinvigorated about why you got into museum work in the first place. The learners are why we are all here. And we call them learners, not guests or visitors, because they play an active part. They have a collaborative role in their own discovery.

Unknown Speaker 05:19
So how can we all live out that education part of our mission, I believe that many of our departments feel experienced, experienced feeling siloed. And reaching out just makes us all stronger. So let's work together. Stop, collaborate, and listen. I'm an educator, and I speak for the learners. Thank you. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 05:47
Thank you so much. Thank you so much Miranda. boxes of stuff indeed. Oh my god. Thank you.