Museum paedagogics and education

Technikum29 is not only a computer museum showing exponats of running computers. Since some years, we also develop paedagogic concepts for pupils (i.e. kids and youth between 10-18 years). We offer these courses in German only, so this English speaking pages shall merely give you an idea what kind of outreach work is done in technikum29. It can suit as an invitation for paedagogic concepts in adjacent countries, thought.

As an table of contents, this is an outline of our activities with kids:

Classical museum tours

Yousra, 10 years old (primary school), operates the Univac 9200 computer.

When school classes come visiting our museum, we typically offer one of the two tours in the two main museum topics which we call Computer history or The rise of communication technology. We never offer both courses after each other for a single class, purely as a matter of time and concentration for the audience. Instead, we decide in advice with the particular teachers.

We offer courses in two intensity levels. Either classes can participate in only a single tour (ca. 90 minutes). Instead, they can also extend their visit up to three hours and participate in an experimental workshop. This allows pupils to actually work with the historic devices, solve problems and riddles.

In our experience, these kind of school classes are mostly interested:

  • Extension courses in physics, math, engineering or adjacent topics at high/secondary level school (German gymnasiale Oberstufe, the last school form before Abitur).
  • Computer science classes of all age
  • Working groups, students in project weeks and similar of all age (voluntary courses for pupils offered at schools)
  • Groups from vocational schools or younger students from universities
  • Pupils from primary schools

For all of these groups we prepared dedicated tours and have very good feedback.

Astonished primary school pupils in front of the dinosaur Gamma 10.

This is some (anonymous) feedback from advanced students of the high school which visited technikum29 and attended a workshop:

I liked this tour very much. It was so helpful we could ask all our questions well before we looked at the individual computers. I never expected to see them working as if nothing happened to them in terms of age! We could even operate them! -- Student A

Very nice exhibition and informative tour. It's interesting to see how these old computers were working. Actually I would have been happy to have even more time for the workshops. -- Student B

All in all a very interesting tour. I think everybody who is at least in particular interested in technology should be inspired by at least one of these old giants. This doesn't even have to be these large truck-like super computers but can even be a smallish but astonishing mechanical computer with their hand gears and gear wheels. -- Student C

I enjoyed the tour very much. Every single computer which was shown is worth of being included in the tour. Every single computer was impressive in it's own way. The workshop also included interesting tasks, for instance the ASCII art. However, in my opinion, the time for doing the workshop was too short. -- Student D

This was a very interesting exhibition with quite interesting exhibits. I think for us younger ones it's very important to learn something not only about sociopolitical history but also about technical history, especially when all the old exhibits are still fully working! I also enjoyed the guided tour which was fun and entertaining. The subsqeuent workshop was also a great fun and very instructive. I can well imagine to come back to the museum to take part at another tour with another thematic focus. -- Student E

High school students (Physics extension course) while doing experiments.

Experimental workshop

This is a list of some of our unusual experiments which are performed by pupils in groups without further instruction except an extensive worksheet. These experiments are so different then the usual experiments at schools that pupils enjoy them very much.

Deciphering encrypted messages with an historical machine. Different levels of difficulty possible.
A puzzling decimal counter. Students shall understand by precise testing and observation.
Mechanical computing. Students shall understand the importance of the denominational number system.
Telex chatting. Students shall just experience how to write e-Mails in an ancient way, just for fun.
Computing with mechanical automata.
Chatting with the invisible genie. Students shall understand where the information comes from.
Coding and encoding, the ASCII code on 8bit paper tapes, testing with the teletype.
Understanding another strange machine.
Analysis of a black box. Understand the inner wiring.
The odd circuit.
Puzzle A.
Magnetostriction and ultrasound. An experiment from the advanced course physics lab exercises at university.
Digital experiments.
Art on punched cards. Students shall create pictures with letter sequences on punch cards, printed by a computer.

Electronic workshops for youths

We also offer the complete opposite to museum tours. Instead of getting pupils in touch with the historical device, we offer completely different workshops on modern technology well inside the museum. That is, we currently offer two workshops:

  • The LEGO robotics workshop. It's especially dedicated to the youngest of our visitors and enables them to build and program robots made by the LEGO Mindstorms company.
  • The Physical computing workshop, alias The Arduino lab: This is an advanced course for youths to teach them basic electronics, microcontroller programming and all that with a connection to sensors and all that.

Birthday events for kids and youths

As we do so many with children, this is even another kind of events we frequently host: Children can celebrate their birthday with all their friends at our location. First, they participate a short guided tour which is especially appropriate to their age. Afer a short break, the kids experiment with so interesting experiments that it's always hard to find an end for the party. This is so different to a typical birthday party.