What is Mondays @ the Museum “selling?”

Recently I was introduced to a marketing professional who specializes in developing LMS or Learning Management Systems. For those that are unfamiliar with the term (as I was),

“A learning management system is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, automation and delivery of educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs. The learning management system concept emerged directly from e-Learning.”

Wikipedia

We were discussing my program/product and after I expanded past my basic “elevator speech,” waxing poetic on my long term goals for Mondays @ the Museum, she summarized my product in a very different way than I had expected. “Oh, I see. You’re an interesting person and your selling a product that will help others be interesting too.” Well,…yes, I guess so. It’s not often I’m stumped in a conversation, and this was one of those rare moments. I had not thought of it that way at all.

While pondering her comment later, back in my home office, I was reminded of a video I used to use religiously with teenage students that I mentored as part of various arts or museum career development programs at my past institutions. It’s a presentation to teachers, given in 2008, on key 21st Century skills students need to develop, given by Randy Nelson, the former Dean of Pixar University. The presentation is titled, “Learning and Working in the Collaborative Age.” You can watch it HERE on Edutopia to get the full presentation. However, in light of this post, there is a particular part about becoming an “Interested” vs. “Interesting” person that always stuck out to me.

Although the LMS expert had referred to me as “Interesting,” I think she meant “Interested.” As Randy says in his presentation, “…interesting…[is]easy to get. Interested is tough. That’s a real skill…” Anyone can be interesting. I could be interesting with my fashion or my hair style or the way I speak or even my choice in tattoos or piercings. Interested means much more. I think she mean interested, because to enjoy learning, you must be interested. I am interested. I’m interested in finding out how people of all ages and backgrounds can also enjoy learning and find interest in all sorts of learning. I’m interested in Archaeology even though that’s not my specialty or even close to my field of expertise. I’m fascinated in how we know what we know about our human past. I’m interested in all different types of art museums because I’m interested in all the many ways humans communicate emotion and stories and experience through various forms of expression. I’m interested in all kinds of music and voices because I’m interested in why and how different voices and sound combinations sound the way they do and make me feel the way I do when I hear them. I’m interested in Science and Technology and Engineering and Math because I’m interested in how everything around me works.

And yes, I’m interested in sharing my interest and passion and hope that others will also become interested in expanding what they understand about the world. From my experience, museums are fantastic tools and resources for this type of activity.

I’m working on being more specific in my approach to the development of videos that will be most helpful to spark this life-long interest in all of us. Now that STEM @ the Museum is out, I most likely will be harnessing the original session 3, Through the Lens of History, and expanding on questioning skills around artifacts and history. Stay with me! More is coming! OH! And check out the You Tube video from last week’s presentation with Varsity Tutors: Questioning King Tut: Asking Questions Like and Archaeologist!

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