Tech Review 9 – Video creation and sharing: YouTube (Guest Blog)

This week’s review is guest written by David Mansell, Digital Learning Coordinator at the National Football Museum, Manchester (@footballmuseum; @NFM_Learn; @sivisscientiam)

Overview:

This week, we will be looking at sharing video content through YouTube. This platform is a versatile tool to share internally or externally produced videos. Online video is hugely popular with today’s internet users. Cultural organisations are increasingly looking to video to educate, inspire, and document their activities. This capacity can range from ad-hoc commissions of videographers as part of funded projects, all the way to staff and volunteers producing videos in-house with dedicated equipment. Whatever your means of production, YouTube is a good home for content, especially content that needs to be distributed multiple times across a variety of channels.

What you need:

  • An internet connection.
  • Depending on where your content is stored, either a mobile device or laptop.
  • A Google account for your organisation.
  • Any relevant branding: logos, copy etc.

Instructions:

Posting content on YouTube is an easy (and fun) process. After navigating to the website, you can sign in on the top right using your Google account. If this is your organisation’s first time using the site, you’ll be prompted to start setting up your channel. Your channel is your hub from which you can post your content, and engage with your audience on the site. The layout is simple and is typical of Google’s user-friendly approach.

If YouTube becomes a part of your communications strategy, then this is worth doing with your relevant colleagues who have oversight on such things. Otherwise, feel free to add as much branding and information as you feel is appropriate. Other organisations tend to treat the site as any other digital asset, and so it is common to see their channels branded like their other platforms.

There’s a button next to the search bar for uploading content. Clicking it will allow you to select the file you want from your computer. During this process, you’ll be given the chance to give your video an appropriate title and description, as well as tagging it with relevant search terms. It’s worth spending a little bit of time crafting this to ensure that your content is accessible via the search bar.

You can also make use of some limited editing tools for making minor alterations to lighting and annotations. For those without dedicated editing software, this is a useful tool to improve the quality of your videos. For accessibility purposes, there’s also the option to add subtitles and translations, which the user can enable and disable as required.

Once you are set up, you can access some useful features:

Analytics:

Each individual video you upload allows you to view detailed audience data. Like Twitter and Facebook, YouTube provides real-time info on audience demographics, traffic sources, and playback devices. Additionally, YouTube also provides data on audience retention on each individual piece of content; so you can get insight into when you lost your audience’s attention. This is a huge bonus for creators who are looking to optimise their content for their audience or experiment with new audiences.

Sharing:

Sharing your YouTube content is as easy as clicking the share button on the video player. From there, you can access your other social media, emails, and even an embed links into your website. Sites like Twitter and Facebook allow the user to access the video on their website when viewed on a computer- the analytics are still available on the main YouTube site. You could even create a QR code using the link and put it somewhere in your venue for visitors to access more information on stories and objects.

Technology:

YouTube is at the cutting edge of online video technology. At the upper limit, users can upload videos up to 12 hours long, or 128GB in size! The site also supports resolutions up to 4K. This puts YouTube firmly ahead of other leading social networks in terms of flexibility with videos. For organisations conscious of the long-term viability of the platform, they can be confident that it has so far been ahead of the curve for technological advancements.

Community:

As well as being a home for videos in all shapes and sizes, YouTube has a thriving community who consume billions of hours of content a year. Like other social media channels, YouTube users can like, dislike, and comment on posts, as well as subscribe to channels they watch regularly. Educational content can be a great place to foster debate and engagement. For organisations looking to branch out online, YouTube is a great place to be.

Pros

  • It’s completely free to sign up and post as much or as little content as you like.
  • YouTube is an easy way to access all your video content online and sharing features make distribution easy.
  • Useful analytics reports- great for strategy writing, assessing impact, and KPI monitoring.
  • Powerful technology- whether it’s video uploaded from a mobile device or a crafted feature, YouTube has you covered on compatibility.

 

Cons

  • Setting up a channel can be a lengthy process. The involvement of other staff may be required, to be to ensure that branding guidelines are followed.
  • Content uploading can take a while depending on your internet speed.

 

Who should use this within a museum?

The platform is great for anyone looking to get their video content out there, be they museum educators, digital specialists, content marketers or anybody else with a special interest in video.

General feedback

Online video continues to grow and is a great way to get people excited about heritage. With modern mobile devices putting the power of video at many people’s fingertips, having the right tools to share and grow online is a top priority for heritage staff managing digital development. For those looking to put their video content out there, YouTube is highly recommended.

Score:

Price: 5/5

Ease of use: 4/5

Efficiency: 5/5

Effectiveness: 5/5

Total 19/20

 

David Mansell

Weekly Tech Review – Week 8 Productivity – Canva (design tool)

Overview:

This week we are going to try something different, which can help us create amazing graphic designs without having to be a professional graphic designer. Canva is a free graphic design tool used by professionals, as well as by people who have absolutely no prior design skills. It is a tool which allows users to create custom visual content for Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts.

What you need:

  • An internet connection
  • A computer/laptop
  • The Canva website

Instructions:

Let’s start with a hypothetical scenario: you are hosting a museum late celebrating the X museum’s birthday and you want to create a promotional poster to be published on social media for your followers.

  • Open Canva and click on Create a design on the top left. For the purposes of our scenario, we chose the Poster template.
  • First, we’ll pick either a layout or a background photo. Click on LAYOUTS from the list on the left and scroll down to look for one that is suitable for your poster’s purposes. Don’t worry about the text, as it can be altered later on! Alternatively, you can click on the white search box and enter keywords to find a relevant photo to use, but choosing a layout will save you much more time. For our hypothetical scenario’s purposes, we chose a layout that alludes to a celebration of some sort.
  • Now that we’ve got a striking image to draw attention, we need to give our audience some details about the event. Since we’re already working with a template, we can just edit the placeholder text and add in the right details.
  • With Canva you can also upload and add your own images which you can, then, edit, crop, and filter. Simply click on UPLOADS on the left, and then on Upload your own images. After you’ve uploaded an image from your own server, you can drag it from the left-hand side of the page straight to your poster. The editing options are directly above your design.
  • On the left-hand side, you can also see the options ELEMENTS, TEXT and BACKGROUND. You may use these if you’re creating your own design by scratch, but it is an option which is significantly more time-consuming than going for a layout which you can then edit and adjust to your own needs.
  • Voila – our poster is ready! All we have to do now is click Download on the top right corner. Users can choose the format in which they want to download their design. Canva will give you the option to download a watermark-free version of the design, but it will cost you, so we’ll just download the watermark version.

Pros:

  • It’s free!
  • Time-efficiency! It literally took us 5 minutes to do the whole process.
  • It’s extremely simple to use – the website design of this design tool (inception) is so good that everything is straightforward.
  • It offers a comprehensive image library and a collection of templates suitable for different industries.
  • Designs (posters) are printable.
  • You can directly share your design on social media (top right), further cutting down the time needed to create + actually share your design.

Cons:

  • There are additional tools that Canva can offer, but users have to pay to access them.
  • A number of images are not free.

Who should use this within a museum?

Anyone who works with marketing and social media, and event organisers who want to promote events and happenings.

General feedback:

We simply love Canva! It is a rare example of how a single platform can provide users of any level of graphic design with so many awesome possibilities. What is more, we love the fact that it’s free! Remember: presentation is everything. Visual content is 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content! Canva is the best free tool on the market to help you easily create visual content for your museum/charity. If you need any further assistance with how to use Canva, please email me on yiota@cornwallmuseumspartnership.org.uk.

Score:

  • Price – 5/5 
  • Ease of use – 5/5
  • Efficiency – 5/5
  • Effectiveness – 5/5

Overall score: 20/20

Jenny Lee and Yiota Liopetriti

Weekly Tech Review – Week 7 Productivity – Trello

Overview:

This week we are going to try something a bit different, and look at how digital approaches can help museums behind the scenes in their day-to-day runnings. There are many different programmes out there that can aid with project management, organisation, and productivity. This week we are reviewing Trello, which has become a favourite of the CMP team.

Trello is a web-based project management programme. This is based on the ‘Kanban’ system (click here for an accessible link), which was developed by Toyota as a means of improving the efficiency of their production line. Trello uses a system of boards, lists, and cards to organise tasks, allowing you to work in an iterative and agile manner.In the CMP office, we have been using Trello for the last few years for team meetings and to manage specific projects, such as the redevelopment of our website.

What you need:

  • An internet connection
  • A computer or smartphone
  • The Trello website or app (available for iOS and Android)

Instructions:

 

Pros:

Simple to use

  • It’s very simple to use and can be adapted for different purposes.
  • You can get a Trello app on your phone or tablet.
  • You can create as many boards as you like – so you can have a board for each project or a single board for multiple projects.

Customisable

  • You can customize the background of each board using photographs drawn from the Unsplash website (note: Unsplash is an amazing repository of copyright-free images!)
  • You can colour code each card – meaning that you can quickly and visually categorize tasks. You can also search using these coloured labels as a filter.

Collaboration

  • You can collaborate with other users. This is really important if multiple people are working on the same project, also allowing remote working.
  • It automatically refreshes, so other collaborators on your board can see changes in real-time without having to refresh or sync.

Agile

  • It’s based on an agile way of working, so allows you to take an iterative approach and to keep track of all changes to the project. Having a team board with all the projects happening within an organisation can be a really useful way of tracking progress. At CMP we use our team board as an effective and efficient way of structuring our team meetings – we review all of the cards on the board and move them around based on their current state of completion.
  • You can attach documents to cards.
  • You can insert checklists, which give you a percentage of completion on the front of the card.

Calendars

  • If you select the calendar powerup, you can view your cards on a calendar within Trello. This extracts dates from the due dates that you set for each card, and when the calendar view is activated, you can move cards to different dates. This is particularly useful if you are managing a time-sensitive project or involved in social media/marketing scheduling.
  • You can link due dates on cards with your Outlook calendar, allowing you to have all your deadlines in one place (this is provided by a third-party – Cronofy).
  • You can email tasks straight to your board. Each board has an email address, so when you get an important email that you want to add to your board, then you can forward it to this address and all of the information will be linked to your card.

Cons:

  • On the free account, you can only use one power-up per board. If you go for Trello Gold (the paid-for version), this only raises to two power-ups per board.
  • Integrations with other applications, such as Outlook and Slack require the use of a third-party service such as Zapier or IFTT.
  • Your email inbox can sometimes become swamped with notifications, though you can switch these off.
  • Be careful, Trello is sometimes used as a discussion forum rather than for organizing tasks. If you need such a facility, we suggest using Slack, which we will be reviewing soon.

Who should use this within a museum?

Everyone!

General feedback:

We at CMP hate silo working, so using Trello helps us to feel connected and allows us to effectively collaborate on projects and share knowledge. It saves times and ensures that tasks don’t fall through the gaps. In order to get the full potential from Trello, there needs to be complete take-up of this tool by everyone in the team, which can be challenging at times.

The simplicity of Trello means that it can be adapted for a range of different purposes, and in a future review we will look at how Trello has been used within the Collections Department at the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno to streamline their public enquiries.

Score:

  • Price – 4.5/5 
  • Ease of use – 4.5/5
  • Efficiency – 5/5
  • Effectiveness – 5/5

Overall score: 19/20

Jenny Lee and Yiota Liopetriti

 

Weekly Tech Review – Week 6 Sketchfab – viewing 3D scans

Sketchfab

Overview:

Following on from last week’s review of publishing 3D models on Sketchfab, we are reviewing the user-experience of Sketchfab. Sketchfab is a platform where you can publish, share and discover 3D content. There are over 1.5 million scenes with a community of over 1 million creators you can follow, making Sketchfab the largest platform for immersive and interactive 3D content. As with most of our reviews, this is a free platform, where there is no cost to upload or access content.

What you need:

  • An internet connection
  • A computer or smartphone
  • The Sketchfab website or app (available for iOS and Android)

 Instructions:

The Sketchfab website is incredibly easy to use and navigate. For the purposes of this review, we visited the profile of the British Museum, who have made a concerted effort to publish 3D models online, and have uploaded 220 to date. Following on from this we explored the models that were tagged as ‘Cornwall’ and then filtered for ‘Cultural Heritage and Museums’. We particularly enjoyed the 3D models created by Tom Goskar.

Pros:

  • Detailed information has been provided next to the models. We selected the Queen piece from the Lewis Chess set – this showed information relating to the date of production, height, material, as well as meta-data about the person who took the 3D scan and what equipment was used.

  • There is the facility for multiple annotations when a model contains more than one object.

  • You can download the model for free, though if you wished to charge, there is the facility. This is dependent upon copyright restrictions – so if you don’t want people to download something, you don’t have to offer it.
  • You can add this model to your own collection, embed it on a website, like it, and share it on social media.
  • You can see how many people have viewed and liked the model, allowing museums to gauge the popularity of objects.
  • There is the facility to set different licenses for the download, for instance, the Queen is Creative Common Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. The Creative Commons system of licensing is very straightforward, and you can easily work it out here.
  • People can comment on each model, allowing for extra information, feedback, and discussion amongst users.
  • You can tag each model with generic terms, making it easy for people to find your model while browsing.
  • Link to the museum’s website

Cons:

  • We were keen to try out the VR facility on the Sketchfab app with our trusty Google Cardboards, however, we noticed that all of the museum/heritage models that we looked at were not optimised for VR. This is not a criticism of Sketchfab per se, but more of a missed opportunity on behalf of museums. We did find some ‘VR ready’ models and found the experience to be absolutely brilliant, with the ability to move around the object (something that we noticed was noticeably lacking in Google Arts and Culture and Google Expeditions.
  • Viewing objects in VR version works perfectly for iOS devices. However, using an Android device takes a long time for the object to load in VR and, additionally, the user must install the Google VR Services app beforehand, in order to be able to view objects on Google cardboard (or any VR device).

General feedback:

We love Sketchfab! It presents a brilliant opportunity to freely share and disseminate 3D digital content and become a member of this burgeoning online community. We particularly like the idea of being able to comment on models and feel that this would be a useful tool in the co-curation of museum objects, enhancing digital engagement and participation.

We noticed that most of the models that have been tagged as ‘Cornwall’ are archaeological or architectural, so there is a need for museum object to comprehensively display Cornish heritage.

Score:

  • Price – 5/5
  • Ease of use- 5/5
  • Education – 5/5
  • Fun – 4.5/5

Overall score: 19.5

Jenny Lee and Yiota Liopetriti

Weekly Tech Review – Week 5 Sketchfab – publishing 3D scans

Sketchfab

Overview:

After taking all of our wonderful 3D images of the Porthcurno carrier pigeon last week, we needed somewhere to publish and share them – so this week we will be reviewing Sketchfab. Sketchfab is a platform where you can publish, share and discover 3D content. There are over 1.5 million scenes with a community of over 1 million creators you can follow, making Sketchfab the largest platform for immersive and interactive 3D. As with most of our reviews, this is a free platform, where there is no cost to upload or access content.

Sketchfab is available as a desktop website and as a mobile app, so during this review, we will look at both of these iterations. Once we have finished sharing our 3D images, we will also have a look at some of the museums who use Sketchfab on a frequent basis.

What you need:

  • An internet connection
  • Either a computer or a smartphone
  • If using a smartphone, you will need to download the free Sketchfab app (available for iOS and Android)

 Instructions:

Web:

  1. Open your internet browser and go to the Sketchfab website: https://sketchfab.com
  2. Create an account.
  3. If you are using the Trnio app (reviewed last week) then you can select the scan and share directly to Sketchfab

 

 

Pros:

  • Website: it is really clear how to upload scans into Sketchfab.
  • Website: the editing options on the website are excellent (once you have managed to get your content on there). The ability to add extra lighting, backgrounds, and post-processing filters is superb, creating professional looking 3D models.
  • We really liked the ability to share 3D scans online on the Sketchfab site, and also the ability to embed this model into our own website.

Cons:

  • Mobile app: not very user-friendly. It is unclear how you import a scan to publish. We thought that we would be able to import 3D scans straight into Sketchfab, but it turns out that on the app you can only export scans to Sketchfab from the app that you used to create the scan. While the Trnio app supports this direct export into Sketchfab, Scann3D doesn’t and we found it impossible to transfer the 3D scans from the app into Sketchfab.

General feedback:

The website and the mobile app appear to fulfill different functions. The website is much better at uploading and editing the 3D scans, whereas the mobile app is more geared towards exploring 3D content that has already been published. So, if you want to publish your own scans, we recommend that you use the Sketchfab website.

The user journey is not particularly easy or intuitive. If Sketchfab were easier to use and integrated better with 3D scanning apps, then the overall experience and benefit to museums would be better. Once the content has been uploaded, Sketchfab provides a fantastic opportunity to become part of a 3D community online, alongside bigger museums such as the British Museum.

Sketchfab is not perfect, but at the moment it is the biggest and best platform available to publish and share 3D scans and models.

Score:

  • Price – 5/5
  • Ease of use- 3/5
  • Quality of output – 4/5
  • Potential for museums – 4.5/5

Overall score: 16.5

Next week:

Next week we will be exploring content from other museums from the Sketchfab website, with the mindset of a user rather than a publisher. We might even get the chance to use our favourite tech so far – our Google Cardboards!

 

Jenny Lee and Yiota Liopetriti

CMP launches Weekly Tech Reviews

Cornwall Museums Partnership has recently launched its Weekly Tech Reviews, facilitated by Jenny Lee and Yiota Liopetriti. Weekly Tech Reviews are a series of short weekly sessions aiming to test and give feedback on affordable digital technologies and their potential applicability within museums in Cornwall. By reviewing, commenting and rating the different technologies through weekly blog entries, we aim to test the digital possibilities for museums in Cornwall.

So far, we have completed four different sessions on:

We welcome any feedback or comments from anyone working in a museum or working with affordable digital technologies. We would also like to hear from you if you have any ideas for future testing. Please contact Jenny, on JennyLee@cornwallmuseumspartnership.org.uk, or Yiota, on yiota@cornwallmuseumspartnership.org.uk, or give us a ring at 01209500750.

 

Weekly Tech Review – Week 4 Photogrammetry Apps for creating 3D scans

This week we are looking at photogrammetry apps, which allow you to create a 3D scan of an object using only your phone. The last three reviews have focused on some of the ways of disseminating digital context to users and visitors, creating an immersive experience. We are changing the focus in this review to look at what tech is available for museums to use to create the digital content itself. With this in mind, we are changing the scoring criteria slightly – ‘Education’ and ‘Fun’ will be replaced with ‘Potential for museums’ and ‘Quality of output’.

As the focus of these reviews is on low-cost and free options for museums, we only used those apps that were free to download and didn’t require any additional equipment. While trying to find suitable apps, we were unable to find any apps that satisfied these criteria that were available on both Android and iOS phones. As a result, we have picked and reviewed two different apps, one for each operating system.

Photogrammetry apps provide a brilliant opportunity for museums to create 3D models of their objects, which can be embedded on museum websites or post and view on platforms such as Sketchfab, which we will be reviewing next week. This means that museums can make their collections accessible to a wide audience, helping to share objects that might be hidden away in stores. It also helps to redress the balance of digitisation away from 2D objects such as documents and photographs, which have received far more attention due to the relative ease of their digitisation. However, with developments in software and prevalence of smartphones, 3D objects can now gain more prominence online.

Unfortunately, as we do not work in a museum, we do not have access to wonderful objects to scan. As a result, we have used a knitted carrier pigeon, which was given to us from the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno. We would love to see how this would work in a museums context, so if you would like us to test these apps out further on any of your collections items, get in touch.

 

SCANN3D App (Android)

Overview:

Scann3D deploys patent pending photogrammetry technology to enable true 3D model capture and reconstruction for smartphones and tablets. Your device becomes a standalone tool to turn images into 3D models – all your images are processed by and on it. The app essentially offers users the possibility to digitise objects in 3D format. This is an updated version of a previous app called 123DScan.

What you need:

  • An Android smartphone
  • The SCANN3D App – available for free only for Android
  • An object in plain background preferably and in good lighting. TIP: Reflective, transparent, and untextured, homogeneous objects do not make good models.

Instructions:

  1. Download the free app on your Android and open it
  2. Click on Login
  3. Click on New Model
  4. Swipe and read through the Tips & Best Practices before you actually proceed with 3D-digitising your object
  5. After you’ve read tips and instructions, choose what object you want to try out and place it on a plain surface
  6. The app should now give you the opportunity to take pictures of your object. The app requires that you take at least 5 different pictures from different angles of the object, but I would say that 20-25 pictures will give you the best results.
  7. Once you’re done click on the tick option. The app will then take some time to load your object.
  8. Your 3D-digitised object will be stored in My Models. You can revisit it any time, download it or send it to someone.

Pros:

  • You don’t need any specialist technology to do this
  • Accessible and free
  • You can digitise any object no matter how complicated it is
  • Simple to use once you have read the tips and instructions

Cons:

  • It takes a while for the app to process the images of your object
  • It might not work from the very first time – it took us 2 failed attempts to finally get it right (TIP: don’t try to digitise a vase or a plant!)
  • The app itself does not give you the option to download your 3D-digitised object. You’ll need a follow-up app to be able to transfer it and view it somewhere else. We are going to look at Sketchfab – a platform that lets you upload and view 3D-digitised objects.
  • This app can only be used on Android

Score:

  • Price – 5/5
  • Ease of use- 3.5/5
  • Quality of output – 3/5
  • Potential for museums – 4.5/5

Total: 15.5/20

 

 

Trnio App (iOS)

Overview:

Trnio makes your iPhone to into a high-quality 3D scanner, using a cloud service to convert images into hi-resolution photo quality 3D scans.

What you need:

  • A iPhone
  • The Trnio App – available for free only for iOS
  • An object in plain background preferably and in good lighting. This is the same as for the Android app/

Instructions:

  1. Download the free app on your iPhone and open it
  2. Click on three turquoise lines in the top right of the screen and click on ‘Tutorial’. This will bring up a video, which is worth a watch.
  3. After watching the tutorial video, click done and return to the main screen.
  4. Choose the object that you want to scan and place it on a plain surface. We used a piece of flipchart paper as it was a large, white surface.
  5. Click on the turquoise camera icon at the bottom of the screen.
  6. Make sure the object that you want to scan is within the circle on the screen and click on the smaller circle in the middle. Wait for a few seconds while the camera ‘blinks’.
  7. From this point you don’t have to click on anything, just start moving very slowly around the object. As you move, you will notice that small turquoise circles appear on the screen. These present the photographs that the app has taken to form the 3D image; the more circle the higher the quality of the scan.
  8. Make sure that you keep the same distance from the object, but also make sure that you vary your height as you walk around. This will ensure that all angles of the object being scanned.
  9. Once you have completed a full revolution of your object, press and hold the small circle in the middle of the screen – this will save the images. Click on ‘Queue’ on the top right of your screen. This will then show you the progress of the upload of your scan.
  10. If you are happy with your scan, press ‘Publish’ on the top right of the preview screen.
  11. Your 3D-digitised object will be stored within your profile on the app. You can revisit any time, download it or import it directly to Sketchfab.

Pros:

  • You don’t need any specialist technology to do this
  • Accessible and free
  • You can digitise any object no matter how complicated it is
  • Simple to use once you have read the tips and instructions
  • This app relies on a continuous stream of photographs, which are taken automatically as you walk round, making this app slightly easier and more straightforward to use.

Cons:

  • As this is a cloud-based app, it takes a considerable amount of time to create a preview of your scan and then more time to upload this.
  • It might not work from the very first time – it took us 3 failed attempts to finally get it right.
  • The app itself does not give you the option to download your 3D-digitised object. You’ll need a follow-up app to be able to transfer it and view it somewhere else. We are going to look at Sketchfab.
  • Although this app has the option to trim your scan (allowing you to get rid of the surface that you placed the object on), this didn’t work for me at all, despite several attempts
  • This app can only be used on iOS.

Score:

  • Price – 5/5
  • Ease of use- 3/5
  • Quality of output – 4/5
  • Potential for museums – 4.5/5

Total: 16.5/20

General feedback on both apps:

These apps are great tools which offer anyone the opportunity to 3D-scan an object. The fact that it is free makes it accessible to anyone, anywhere. We thoroughly enjoyed the possibilities these apps offer.

Weekly Tech Review – Week 3 Kneehigh – Walk With Me app

Kneehigh – Walk With Me app

Overview:

Walk With Me is a free app which offers audio stories and interesting facts around three areas, hence there are three different walks to choose: Mevagissey, Newquay and Perranporth. We randomly picked and tested Mevagissey.

You can listen to the stories ‘rambling’ in the location in GPS mode, or you could choose to experience the stories in the armchair mode.

The walks are of various lengths and, before you set (or start) off, you can listen to a safety warning. Some examples of stories or pieces of information include:

  1. Did you know (with an image of a girl) – story from a girl inspired by Mevagissey museum exhibit
  2. Found – donation of the museum
  3. Doll’s House – inspired by the doll’s house in the museum (includes artwork by Lottie – who wrote the section)
  4. Reminiscences

The stories are based on images, objects and recollections from Mevagissey museum.

Equipment needed:

  • Smartphone
  • Walk With Me app (free, available for Android and iOS)
  • Headphones

Instructions:

  1. Connect with wifi, if you’re using the armchair mode, or turn on your mobile data, if you’re using the GPS mode
  2. Once you’ve downloaded the app, connect your headphones and open the app
  3. On the bottom left-hand side of the screen, there is a ‘HOW TO’ option which gives you, in text and audio, instructions on how to use the app

Pros:

  • You can share your experience with the app – but only links to the app rather than the individual story
  • There is a good mix of information
  • There is a good mix of Illustrations and original photographs
  • The locations’ colours change as you cover more points so you know where you’ve been
  • There are clear instructions on how to use it, with an audio section
  • Worked fine on iOS and android.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t zoom in and out of the map
  • No clear starting point, but then there is no overall narrative, so it doesn’t really matter
  • You need to download the app and the walk – this can exhaust your mobile data or take a long time to download, so try to download both beforehand using a wifi connection

General Feedback:

It was overall an enjoyable experience. The experience would have been better if we had actually done the physical GPS walk. However we found it very convenient that an armchair version is available as this makes it more accessible.

How does it relate to Cornish museums/can be used?

  • The stories and facts are mainly based on the museum, so a similar idea could be developed for any Cornish museum and its surrounding area.
  • It was a great collaborative effort between Kneehigh Theatre and the museum
  • There was strong community involvement to develop the app, especially by young people
  • Good use of GPS technology
  • A very good proof of concept for a location-based app utilising museum/heritage collections.

Score:

  • Price – free, but could incur data costs 4/5
  • Ease of use- 4/5
  • Education – 4/5
  • Fun – 4/5

Total: 17/20

Jenny Lee and Yiota Liopetriti

 

Weekly Tech Review – Week 2 Google Expeditions + Google Cardboard

Last week we launched our Weekly Tech Review, where we started testing and reviewing all things digital. We started off with taking virtual tours using Google Cardboard and the Google Arts and Culture app – you can see our first blog here.

 

Google Expeditions + Google Cardboard

Overview:

Google Expeditions is a virtual-reality teaching tool. Users (or explorers) can swim with sharks, visit outer space, walk through a museum, and more, from the comfort of a house – or a classroom. It was originally created to target students within the classroom environment, but we believe there are countless possibilities for its use and applicability. Just to give you an idea, there are close to 500 expeditions available and more in development.

Similar to our review last week of the virtual reality tours on the Google Arts and Culture app, the aim of this review is to gain an idea of the user experience. Again, we are gauging whether it would be useful for Cornish Museums to create their own expeditionsfor others to experience.

In order to go on such virtual adventures, we, again, used Google Cardboard – available for under £10. Google Cardboard instantly transforms your smartphone into a virtual reality viewer. For the purposes of this review, we selected four different virtual expeditions; (i) the Parthenon, (ii) the Canterbury Cathedral, (iii) the London Transport Museum & their stores, and (iv) the Great Wall of China.

Equipment needed:

Instructions:

  1. Bear in mind that Google Expeditions only works with minimum 2 people: a Guide and at least one Explorer. Everyone needs to be connected to the same WIFI network for the app to work.
  2. First of all, you need to download the Google Cardboard App. This is free (see above).
  3. Open the Google Cardboard App and follow the online instructions to link your phone to your Google Cardboard.
  4. Next, download the Google Expeditions App from your smartphone’s app store. This is free (see above).
  5. Open the app on your smartphone. The person who is the Guide must open the app first and select the Tour Guide option. Then, the Explorer(s), who will also be the one(s) using Google Cardboard, must open the app and ‘follow’ the Tour Guide.
  6. The Guide then has control which expedition to take the Explorer(s) on. They select and download an expedition to, and it then automatically loads on the Explorer(s)’ smartphone.
  7. The Explorer(s) must then insert their smartphone onto Google Cardboard, and the tour starts.
  8. The Guide can read out loud an information text on their screen while the Explorer(s) are talking the tour, focus the Explorer’s attention on specific objects by tapping onto them, and ask questions at the end of the tour.
  9. Enjoy!

Pros:

  • The Google Expeditions app was free to download and Google Cardboard was cheap to buy, making it accessible to a wider audience
  • The experience was engaging, educational and immersive.
  • The visual quality in Google Expeditions was much better than Google Arts and Culture. It was not as jumpy and the users felt more comfortable after they removed Google Cardboard.
  • The Google Expeditions app offers a wide selection of expeditions (virtual tours) – both geographically and thematically, indoors and outdoors.
  • The Guide option allows access to specialist information and a list of questions for the Explorer(s). This is very easy to use by both parties.
  • In addition to the above, the app allows the Guide to focus on specific objects each time, enabling more coordination and cohesion within larger groups of Explorers.

Cons:

  • You can’t go on Google Expeditions unless you use it with at least one more person.
  • The app and the expedition takes a while to load and connect the Guide with the Explorer(s). It might be good to ensure you are using a fast WIFI connection.

General Feedback:

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed this experience. We got to go to so many different places and learn so much without physically being there. We truly believe that this is a huge possibility for museums in Cornwall to be accessible to everyone within the county and the UK in general, and even globally. Museums have to potentially provide high quality images and content (information and questions).

Score:

  • Price: 5/5
  • Ease of use: 4.5/5
  • Educational benefit: 5/5
  • Fun: 5/5
Total: 19.5/20

 

Jenny Lee and Yiota Liopetriti

Weekly Tech Review – Week 1 Google Arts and Culture + Google Cardboard

This is the first instalment of a weekly review of all things digital. Each week we will look at a different digital application or technology and review it, thinking specifically about how this could be used by the museums in Cornwall.

As Digital Coordinator for CMP, I’m keen to find, and test-drive, new and different technologies, working out which ones will be useful for museums in Cornwall. Over the course of these reviews, we will also be handing devices and gadgets to a selection of museums to be tested by staff and volunteers.

Our primary focus is on low-cost or free applications that can be used with minimal effort and specialist knowledge. Each review will be given a score out of 20 and will be judged against four criteria: 1. cost, 2. ease of use, 3. educational benefit, and 4. fun! Within these reviews will look at the equipment needed, pros and cons and our general feedback.

We hope that through these reviews, you will get an honest and practical insight into how these technologies can be used within your museums, as well as providing achievable ideas!

If there is anything specific you would like us to test and review, or if you are interested in testing anything yourselves, please email me at jennylee@cornwallmuseumspartnership.org.uk 

 

Google Arts and Culture + Google Cardboard

Overview:

Google Arts and Culture is an online platform for museums, art galleries and cultural institutions to display their images online. This also includes Google Streetviews inside museums and virtual tours – it is the virtual tour element that we are trying out this week. In future weeks we will review the other areas of this app.

This initial review of the virtual tour element of Google Arts and Culture looks at how immersive and easy to use these tours are, with a view to creating virtual tours of Cornish museums. In a future week we will review how easy it is to create your own tour, but for this week we are focussing on participating in a tour as a visitor.

In order to test out these virtual tours we used a Google Cardboard; these are available for under £10 and can be purchased easily from Amazon (see equipment list below). Google Cardboard instantly transforms your smartphone into a virtual reality viewer.

For the purposes of this review, we selected two different virtual reality tours; (i) The Peacock Room, Washington DC, USA, and (ii) Dulwich Picture Gallery, London. We were keen to see how these could be used within museums in Cornwall, so we picked tours that presented a similar environment.

Equipment needed:

Instructions:

  1. First of all, you need to download the Google Cardboard App. This is free (see above).
  2. Open the Google Carboard App and follow the online instructions to link your phone to your Google Cardboard.
  3. Next, download the Google Arts and Culture App from your smartphone’s app store. This is free (see above).
  4. Open the app on your smartphone.
  5. Type in ‘Virtual Tour’ in the search bar in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
  6. Select which tour you wish to try from the search results.
  7. Follow the online instructions about inserting your phone into the Google Cardboard.
  8. As you are viewing the tour, you will see an ‘i’ within a circle. This symbol will light up as you hover over it. When the symbol is highlighted, press down the button on the top right of the Google Cardboard.
  9. Enjoy the tour!

Pros:

  • The main thing we liked about this was that the app was free to download and that the Google Cardboard was cheap to buy, meaning that it is more accessible to a wider audience
  • The experience was very immersive.
  • We both agreed that the Dulwich Picture Gallery tour was the better of the two, as it was more detailed and let you navigated around the different rooms within the
  • We were really impressed by the ‘i’ button that popped up on objects or buildings of interest. This provided optional information and interpretation that made this experience education, rather than just a fun virtual tour.

Cons:

We have separated this cons section into two to reflect the different tours that we tried:

Peacock Room Washington, USA

  • The focus was a bit blurred at times, meaning that our eyes got tired quite quickly.
  • The tour didn’t extend into the museum. You could explore the area outside the museum, but when you tried to go inside it just presented a series of painting and documents that could be clicked through.
  • We got lost! The tour had a bad ending and once we were inside the building and looking through the images, we couldn’t work out how to go back. This made the tour feel really disjointed.

Dulwich Picture Gallery

  • The only complaint that we had about this virtual tour was that we couldn’t zoom in on any of the paintings. This meant that while the overall immersive experience was excellent, we couldn’t look at specific items.

General Feedback:

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed this immersive experience – so much so that we made some involuntary ‘oooh’ and ‘wow’ noises when we put the Google Cardboard on for the first time! We were glad that we tried out two different tours, as this revealed that not all virtual tours are created to the same standard. We much preferred the Dulwich Picture Gallery tour as it provided a much more immersive environment and made us want to visit so we could see the paintings up close.

Score:

  • Price: 5/5
  • Ease of use: 4/5
  • Educational benefit: 4/5
  • Fun: 4.5/5
Total: 17.5/20

 

Jenny Lee and Yiota Liopetriti