ASTC 2010: Ho’okele – Navigating to our Future
Posted October 21, 2010
The 2010 conference of the Association of Science and Technology Centers was held this year in Honolulu. Ahhh…. Hawaii! The beaches, the sunshine, the abundance of both single and double rainbows… sounds great, right? With the particularly poor turnout of attendees this year, many folks I spoke to wondered how great this conference really was. The exhibit hall was rather small with what seemed like a fraction of the exhibitors in past years, some sessions were spotty with attendees and there just weren’t the new faces and international showing that many were hoping would arrive.
Putting these observations aside, in a way the conference was great. The educational sessions were quite informative, the special programs and receptions were well planned, and the keynote speaker at the opening ceremony was one of the most impactful and inspiring hour-long speech I may have ever experienced. His name was Charles ‘Nainoa’ Thompson and he shared with the audience the story of the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s development and journeys to Tahiti and beyond using non-instrument wayfinding. This was a story of excitement, joy, loss, discovery, and dismay; but ultimately a story of inspiration – a powerful affirmation of the importance of informal education.
The vibe of the whole experience was quite hopeful for the science center field, especially compared to last year’s conference in Texas, which was mired in the doldrums of the failed economy. But this was different. The hopefulness of brighter tomorrow rang through with the theme of ‘Navigating to our Future’ and the spirit of the attendees to look forward beyond the horizon of our current problems, manage and look at risk in new ways and emerge as a integral asset of education and inspiration for years to come. ESI Design also sees this moment in time as an opportunity as we partner with innovative and forward-thinking institutions in the field of informal STEM education. Looking beyond our current state of affairs, imagining new ways of learning, playing and dreaming is what feeds our approach to design and experiential storytelling.
Stay tuned for an upcoming blog about highlights of various conference sessions I attended and interesting groups I met.