Status Update: Educator or Edupunk? Shifting Roles for Museum Educators Embracing Disruptive Technologies

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Traditional ‘programming’ and informal ‘community outlets’ have indeed broadened, deepened and diversified audiences in museums. The field must now consider new strategies for engaging audiences with increased expectations as informal learners, both online and offline. The next few posts here are my attempt to grope for new words to articulate how some of the most forward-thinking museum educators I know are pushing boundaries into new, and often uncomfortable, spaces in their institutions.

As traditional museum educators mine the spectrum between formalized and informalized education, a new breed of museum educators are inspired by open-source/DIY/crowd-sourced initiatives, and motivated by “edupunk” methodologies that upturn traditional museum education practices beyond K-12 school visits through disruptive technologies. These include, but are not limited to: on-site laboratory spaces, online courses, expansive social media programming, and community-based practices to reach audiences that rarely otherwise visit museums.