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Project

What Do YOU Think about Nanotechnology? The Potential of an Opinion Terminal for Knowledge Acquisition and Opinion Formation at Science Museums

Knowledge Exchange Lab

Duration

January 2006 - December 2008

Funding

Virtual Ph.D. Program "Knowledge acquisition and knowledge exchange with new media" of the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Description

Design proposalsThe lay public today is faced with very complex, controversial science topics like climate change, gene technology and cloning, nuclear testing, and nanotechnology. In addressing these topics, science museums are challenged to both present the ambiguity and controversy of these topics in their exhibitions and to explicitly support visitors in developing deliberative opinions (McLean, 2006). We argue that discussion-based computer terminals provide valuable learning opportunities within science museum exhibitions about contemporary science topics (Knipfer, Zahn, & Hesse, 2007). We refer to discussion terminals as innovative media application that present controversial opinions of experts and allow for expression of an own opinion and read through other visitors' opinions. In this research project, a prototypical discussion terminal was examined. In a first study, expression of opinion was revealed to be helpful with regard to the argument repertoire but not sufficient for formation of high-quality opinions. Salience of arguments was shown to be crucial for formation of well-founded opinions and attitudes that are independent from prior attitudes. Moreover, we see great potential of discussion terminals to support opinion exchange: In a second study, we examined the role of disagreement between museum visitors and the effect of social awareness information on opinion formation. First results indicate that awareness information can further support deliberative opinion formation on condition of disagreement between visitors. This research will inspire the design of innovative discussion terminals for Deutsches Museum, Munich.

Cooperations

  • Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany

Publications

  • Knipfer, K. (2009). Pro or con nanotechnology? Support for critical thinking and reflective judgement at science museums. Pro oder Kontra Nanotechnologie? Unterstützung von kritischem Denken und reflektiertem Urteilen im Museum.
    http://tobias-lib.ub.uni-tuebingen.de/volltexte/2009/3761/pdf/KnipferKristin.pdf.

  • Knipfer, K., Mayr, E., & Hesse, F. W. (2006). The role of media for learning in museums. Paper presented at the Workshop "ICT-supported informal learning in museums and cultural heritage sites: Building the research agenda", March, 29th, University of Sydney.

  • Knipfer, K. (2007). Knowledge Acquisition and Opinion Formation at Science Museums: The Potential of a Discussion Terminal for Collaborative Elaboration on Controversial Issues. In C. Chinn, G. Erkens, & S. Puntambekar. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 7th Computer Supported Collaborative Learning Conference (pp. 845-847). New Brunswick: International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc.

  • Knipfer, K., Zahn, C., & Hesse, F. W. (2007). Demonstration of a Discussion Terminal for Knowledge Acquisition and Opinion Formation in Science Museums. In C. Chinn, G. Erkens, & S. Puntambekar. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 7th Computer Supported Collaborative Learning Conference (pp. 376-378). New Brunswick: International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc.