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CFM Home   CFM Blog   Join the Alliance   Moving? New Job? Let the Alliance know. May 08, 2014

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What's CFM up to at the Annual Meeting in Seattle?
Center for the Future of Museums
Each year, CFM engineers a little glimpse of the future in the Alliance's Resource Center in MuseumExpo. For the meeting in Seattle later this month, we're staging a 3-part demo of how technology can provide new ways to access and share museum resources. This week on the Blog, we preview parts one and two of that demo: Tuesday, accessibility activist Henry Evans invited fellow quadriplegics to advocate for telepresence robots in museums. Thursday, CFM director Elizabeth Merritt suggests some possible applications of drones to museum work (and introduces Michael, the meeting's official quadcopter pilot).
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Unshackled and unschooled: Free-range learning movement grows
Most people have heard of homeschooling — kids are educated by parents or caregivers at home, rather than at school, for a variety of reasons. But within the homeschooling community, the growing "unschooling" subset has a somewhat different, amorphous, definition. Depending on whom you ask, unschooling is centered around what the child wants to learn using any and all resources available, not just fixed, school-prescribed curriculum. The general idea behind unschooling is this: getting kids to develop a love of learning for its own sake rather than for grades, and giving kids the opportunity to experience "valuable hands-on, community-based, spontaneous and real-world experiences." Judging by the explosion of websites, books, Facebook groups and homeschool groups adopting the unschooling label, the 40-year-old movement, first coined by author John Holt in the 1970s, appears to be on the upswing, as is homeschooling in general.
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  Do You Have Wonderful Storytelling?

More and more, storytelling is captivating visitors at the world’s best museums. Storytelling: It Can Change Your Mind is the result of interviewing neuroscientists, social scientists, and master storytellers to unravel the mysteries and skills woven throughout the best tales ever told, and offers helpful guidance for your team. MORE.

Millennials shifting commuter trends
USA Today
Throughout the 20th century, the automobile was an American icon, a symbol of freedom and mobility. It gave people choices they never had before — new places to travel, new people to visit and the like. The digital age has only expanded the number of choices Americans have. No generation has embraced the freedom to choose more than the millennials — those born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s. Millennials aren't just insisting on the right to choose where to go — but how to get there, too. They're opting for the mode of transport that allows them to accomplish what they want along the way — whether it's socializing with friends, being environmentally responsible or having the freedom to work or play en route.
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5 facts about the modern American family
Pew Research Center
The classic nuclear family, the kind imprinted on the American imagination by TV shows like "Leave It To Beaver," has been left behind. In 1960, 37 percent of households included a married couple raising their own children. More than a half-century later, just 16 percent of households look like that. Here are five facts about the modern family. Trends include an increase in the average age at which people marry (if they marry at all) and a decline in birthrate.
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Millions of Americans changed their racial or ethnic identity from one census to the next
Pew Research Center
Millions of Americans counted in the 2000 census changed their race or Hispanic-origin categories when they filled out their 2010 census forms, according to new research presented at the annual Population Association of America meeting. Hispanics, Americans of mixed race, American Indians and Pacific Islanders were among those most likely to check different boxes from one census to the next. Why? There are many possibilities, although the researchers did not present any hard conclusions. By some measures, the data provide more evidence of Americans' puzzlement about how the census asks separately about race and ethnicity. But there could be other reasons, too, such as evolving self-identity or benefits associated with being identified with some groups.
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New models of collaboration are changing the face of philanthropy
The Huffington Post
The face of philanthropy is changing and one of the great drivers is the push towards collaboration growing out of Internet-based connectivity and "knowledge sharing" events like the Global Philanthropy Forum. GPF has long been one of the world's premier gatherings of philanthropists and nonprofit practitioners, but it's also become breeding a ground for collaborative models addressing some of the world's most intractable problems. The ultimate vision is to create a global network of match-making services that advance new models of collaboration and knowledge sharing. Here's a quick look at some of the items on the agenda of philanthropic change.
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ClickNetherfield will be exhibiting at AAM MuseumExpo

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Why the smart reading device of the future may be ... paper
Paper books were supposed to be dead by now. For years, information theorists, marketers and early adopters have told us their demise was imminent. Ikea even redesigned a bookshelf to hold something other than books. Yet in a world of screen ubiquity, many people still prefer to do their serious reading on paper. Maybe it's time to start thinking of paper and screens another way: not as an old technology and its inevitable replacement, but as different and complementary interfaces, each stimulating particular modes of thinking. Maybe paper is a technology uniquely suited for imbibing novels and essays and complex narratives, just as screens are for browsing and scanning. "Reading is human-technology interaction," says literacy professor Anne Mangen of Norway's University of Stavenger. "Perhaps the tactility and physical permanence of paper yields a different cognitive and emotional experience." This is especially true, she says, for "reading that can't be done in snippets, scanning here and there, but requires sustained attention."
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White House big data report earns praise, skepticism
Information Week
A White House report on big data released May 1 concludes that the explosion of data in today's world can be an unprecedented driver of social progress, but it also has the potential to eclipse basic civil rights and privacy protections. The report drew praise from business and technology groups for its grasp of how big data analytics could improve education and health care, uncover wasteful government spending and help with the nation's continuing economic recovery. But those same groups cautioned that government attempts to regulate data collection could interfere with productivity and job growth.
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Number of US older adults to double by 2050
Fox News
The number of people age 65 and older in the United States is expected to almost double by 2050, a shift that is expected to drastically alter the nation's racial makeup and pressure its economy, two government reports released recently said. Those older U.S. residents are expected grow from 43 million in 2012 to nearly 84 million over the next four decades as the baby boomer generation ages, the Census Bureau said in its latest estimate. By 2056, its researchers expect another milestone: The number of U.S. seniors will be larger than the number of those age 18 and younger.
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A vision of the future from those likely to invent it
A vision of the future from those likely to invent it
From employment to leisure and transportation to education, tech is changing the world at a faster pace than ever before. Already, people wear computers on their faces, robots scurry through factories and battlefields and driverless cars dot the highway that cuts through Silicon Valley. Almost two-thirds of Americans think technological change will lead to a better future, while about one-third think people's lives will be worse as a result, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center. Regardless, expect more change. In a series of interviews, which have been condensed and edited, seven people who are driving this transformation provided a glimpse into the not-too-distant future. [Very Cool Infographic]
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All the times science fiction became science fact in 1 chart
Not every science fiction story is meant to predict the future, but some of them have forecast future events with incredible accuracy. This timeline sketches out some of the most exciting examples of times that science fiction became fact. It's the work of io9-reader Isabelle Turner (who used, among other sources, this io9 open channel) to generate her timeline of science fiction novels whose events predicted the future, as well as how long it took for the future to catch up with them. ♦ Readers are invited to tag the timeline with their own favorite true science fiction predication.
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Museum Innovations

Beauty is in the ear of the beholder: Artisphere presents 'Fermata'
You know the saying "beauty is in the eye of the beholder?" At "Fermata," the newest exhibition at Artisphere, beauty isn't so much in the eye, as in the ear. "What was interesting about removing the visual context from a lot of these pieces is that you can enjoy them and in some cases get completely get lost in a sound, and you'd have no idea what it is that you're hearing," says Artisphere's new-media curator Ryan Holladay, who curated Fermata with his brother, Hays, as well as visual-arts curator Cynthia Connolly.
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New museum exhibit to let visitors try Google Glass
New Museum visitors will see art a little differently when the Triennial returns in February 2015. Through a partnership with Google Glass, the museum will launch a "visitor engagement app" using the wearable technology, officials announced. The app and "glassware" will be available for the Triennial, a recurring exhibition that showcases international emerging artists. Next year's event will be curated by Lauren Cornell and artist Ryan Trecartin, whose work was featured in the inaugural Triennial in 2009. The partnership and the app's development are still in the early stages, but the technology is intended to "enhance visitor engagement at the Triennial" and allow the public to share their experiences.
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Gilbert museum embraces intergenerational model to survive
AZ Central
The Gilbert Historical Museum is poised to shift from its historical museum model to embrace a national concept called "Communities for All Ages." The concept, to evolve over the next few years there, strives to build a sense of community by bringing together the younger and older generations for programs and activities. "We had spent a number of years trying to become an outstanding small history museum. And we did that," said Kayla Kolar, the museum's executive director. "But while we were doing that, the world around us changed. Technology has skyrocketed, and we quickly realized that this model of small history museum doesn't work anymore and they were closing them all over the country."
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Zoom and rotate 3-D fossils with free online tool
Hundreds of 3-D images of bones from mastodons, mammoths and other prehistoric creatures are available on a new website. Initially intended as a tool to help field paleontologists identify fossils, the powerful new resource is expected to have wide appeal to students and the general public, as well, says paleontologist Daniel Fisher, director of the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology. "None of what we're doing now was possible when this all began," says Fisher, who gave a presentation about the project May 5 in Greece at the VIth International Conference on Mammoths and their Relatives.
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Why storytelling may be the next big thing in museum funding
Inside Philanthropy
The San Francisco Museum of the African Diaspora received a multi-year grant from the James Irvine Foundation's Exploring Engagement Fund to support a two-year storytelling project entitled "Crossing Fences: Conversations and Stories with African-American Men Across the Generations," underscoring how museums can capitalize on the growing popularity of storytelling to engage new audiences.
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Tools for the Future

This is what a holographic iPhone might look like
Fast Company
Lasers. Infrared sensors. Parabolic mirror assemblies. These are the technologies that could allow iPhones of the future to project holograms from 3-D screens, according to a new Apple patent application. The short clip, called Diorama, simulates what it might look like if images left the iPhone screen and floated in the air. It's cute on its own, but just imagine reaching in and moving those tiny cars around by hand — maybe even changing their tiny tires and honking their tiny horns, and unintentionally causing a tiny accident that makes you feel a tiny bit guilty for ruining the tiny lives of a tiny family. The future is amazing. [Video]
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Rice researchers develop thin-film battery for portable, wearable electronics
A Rice University laboratory has flexible, portable and wearable electronics in its sights with the creation of a thin film for energy storage. Rice chemist James Tour and his colleagues have developed a flexible material with nanoporous nickel-fluoride electrodes layered around a solid electrolyte to deliver battery-like supercapacitor performance that combines the best qualities of a high-energy battery and a high-powered supercapacitor without the lithium found in commercial batteries today. The technique shows promise for the manufacture of other 3-D nanoporous materials.
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Invention Awards 2014: A powerful, portable and affordable robotic exoskeleton
Popular Science
Surviving a stroke or debilitating injury is often the start of a very long ordeal. Physical therapy can be slow and strenuous with no guarantee of recovery. Robotic exoskeletons can sometimes provide the support a ravaged body needs to heal — and strength when it can't — but they typically cost more than a car and must be anchored to a wall and plugged into a socket. In late 2012, a team of mechanical engineering students at University of Pennsylvania set out to build a portable, affordable exoskeleton. Two semesters of late nights and long weekends later, they had the Titan Arm: an efficient, lightweight and surprisingly powerful robotic limb. ♦ And the prototype cost only $2,000, bringing it into a range affordable by many people even if the cost of the device isn't covered by insurance companies.
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Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read the most in recent months.

    Our museums are broken — These 5 fixes can make them fun again (Forbes)
Colorado Symphony seeks expanded audience via BYOC (bring your own cannabis) events (Nonprofit Quarterly)
How are students' roles changing in the new economy of information? (Mind/Shift KQED)
17 emerging energy technologies that will change the world (Business Insider)
Crowdsourcing army to analyze massive archive of World War I info (Fox News)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.

Dispatches from the Future of Museums
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