Author: Andrea Geipel – Deutsches Museum, Germany

New technologies, such as Virtual Realitiy (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), not only point the way to science communication in the museum of the future, but also sharpen the view for everyday challenges in the analogue and digital realms. These are precisely the challenges that cultural institutions are facing in an equal measure. With the opening of the VRlab in August 2018, the Deutsches Museum created an experimental area in the exhibition space to test various scenarios of digital communication and education and to identify measures for their implementation.

As part of the national project museum4punkt0 the Deutsches Museum, together with seven other institutions, evaluates and documents questions on digital storytelling, usability and infrastructural requirements when implementing digital technologies. Within the VRlab the Deutsches Museum applied ethnographic fieldwork, 20 in-depth interviews as well as a questionnaire (n=367) to uncover how skilled visitors already are in using VR, how they perceive the virtual exhibits, the contextualization and the storytelling and how they evaluate usability and accessibility.

Our evaluation shows, that around 16% of the visitors have already experienced room scale VR before coming to the Deutsches Museum, around 92% want to learn more about how VR works and around 87% want to see and learn more about the real exhibits. Together with detailed documentation, the talk will give insights in the implementation, virtual storytelling and reception of VR and how therefore, it is more than another media station. In a next step, we will take a closer look at educational concepts and learning outcomes in VR.

In the talk I will highlight why VR should never be seen as a replacement for real exhibitions but rather as another promising tool to give context, add information and bring exhibits back to life.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Technology

Author: Andrea Geipel – Munich Center for Technology in Society (TUM), Germany

As leading social video platform, YouTube is especially known for music videos, gaming content or how-to-tutorials. However, since 2015, the number of channels in the category ‘Science’ went up from one Mio to 15 Mio displaying the growing number of interest in this niche topic. Prominent YouTube channels, like Vsauce, AsapSCIENCE or kurzgesagt (in a nutshell), present their videos to 3 to 12 Mio subscribers with topics like the fermi paradox or the napkin ring problem. Nevertheless, only a small number of studies give insight in how and to what extend YouTube as a platform influences science communication.

Using the example of five ‘Science Channels’, I argue that producers have to adapt to the platform politics of YouTube to become visible, create a community and gain success. Based on interviews, platform and video analysis as well as ethnographic methods I work out how these platform specific rules lead to a loss of relevance of the specific scientific content presented. Becoming visible is predominantly achieved by following the logics of the algorithm, that is deciding which videos are recommended to users. In addition, producers need to perform authentic and therefore coherent to their own brand and in contrast to other video producers and build networks with others.

While in newspapers, press releases and TV shows the accuracy of the content together with the reputation of the presenter wins the audience’s attention and solace, YouTube in contrast, rewards authentic performance, entertainment and adherence to algorithmic logics of gaining visibility. In the end, this changes the public image of science as well as the way science will be communicated in the future.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices