AAM and NMC Mash-Up: The Big Trends

When I caught wind of AAM’s Center for the Future of Museum’s inaugural TrendsWatch report, I immediately was interested in comparing it with the NMC Horizon Project’s recently announced top 10 Metatrends. It’s always fascinating to see how the discussions in the museum technology sphere go from potential fads to legitimate trends that are deserving of write-ups in these reports.  A comparison of AAM’s TrendsWatch and NMC’s Metatrends is all the more interesting because they each cover vast, yet specific topics in their own right, but together can illustrate key “big trends” where they overlap.

While the New Media Consortium’s metatrends emphasizes technology, it’s broad in its inclusion of educational environments from around the world, from K-12 and higher education to museums. The Center for the Future of Museum’s TrendsWatch is specific in its focus on the museum environment while addressing a breadth of trends, such as technology, education, and demographics.

So, how did it all shake out? What follows are the four “big trends” that I saw emerge from both reports…

The collaborative crowd. The NMC metatrends describes how the interconnected web has changed how people learn, work, and share information on a global scale. Museums and classrooms have both begun to tap into collaborative communities. AAM’s TrendsWatch delves into crowdsourcing as one way that museums are beginning to more fully embrace community participation. Museums have especially latched onto crowdsourced transcription for high-need digitization projects that would have otherwise cost much in the way of staff time.

Who’s the boss? With so much information coming from so many places, it’s all the more important for museums to step up and manage the credibility of content. The NMC metatrends point to the need for institutions to continue to provide curation and sense-making, while still promoting the open sharing of information and data. TrendsWatch suggests that curators become facilitators of crowdsourced platforms, using their expertise to moderate the quality of the work produced.

Technology all around. Both AAM and NMC refer to the ubiquity of technology, which now allows people to “work, learn, socialize, and play whenever and wherever they want to.”  Museum technologists often discuss how to develop programs that increase engagement without detracting from the overall experience. TrendsWatch focused on augmented reality as a trend that will change how users interact with the world around them, especially museums. The opportunities are endless for sharing deeper levels of information in exhibits… and for bringing the museum to where the people are — outside museum walls.

The nature of learning. The shift in emphasis from formal to informal learning has implications far beyond the classroom, within museums in particular. The role of technology is to influence the shaping future learning environments, from social media to electronic publishing. The NMC metatrends convey the “reimagining of the book” as an important trend, as well as the impact that informal learning will have on traditional models of authority. TrendsWatch points out that museums will need to show their relevance as trusted informal learning institutions, offering both on-site experiences and digital resources that will help better support educators and fill the gap.

These “big trends” of collaboration, authority, technology, and learning are just the beginning. Be sure to read the full list of metatrends in the Horizon Project Communique and the TrendsWatch 2012 report for many more details. The next bit of fun is seeing how all of these trends pan out!

One Response to “AAM and NMC Mash-Up: The Big Trends”

  1. Rachel Varon Rachel Varon says:

    Lori, this is great. Thank you for comparing the two reports. I was going through the same thought process while I was reading the TrendsWatch report myself.

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