Ancient Artifacts and Modern Technology: Musemio Research Trial
Can a cardboard headset transport a child back to Egypt with a time-traveling robot to save the pharaoh’s ancient shabti?
The answer is yes.
But, could children also learn an interdisciplinary cultural knowledge at the same time?
Yes, and this is all possible due to Mobile VR.
Working collaboratively with the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, a London-based museum which houses one of the most expansive digital and physical collections on Egyptian artifacts, we were able to co-create a Musemio virtual reality level that not only highlighted their key artifacts but also engaged children during the half-term holiday.
Crafting key objects in the museum like the beaded net dress, into a cohesive story was not a simple task. We worked in co-authoring a level that showcased their top artifacts for children between the ages of 8 and 12. With the knowledge of the museum experts, we were able to mesh their expertise of the material with Musemio’s magic in digital reality.
For the level, we decided to share the story of the first female pharaoh, Queen Hatsheput by having children adventure through a quest — which would take them down the Nile River, through the Pyramids, and tackling challenges along with way — led by their guide robot Mio.
Musemio Screenshot with Robot Mio
The level was a milestone for us not only as Petrie was our first museum collaboration, but this experience also allowed us to test our pedagogical research with UCL Educate.
Though studies have proven the educational impacts of this mode of learning, working with UCL Educate Programme, we tested our own research on Musemio VR’s academic merit of knowledge retention within the scope of cultural education. For months working with the best mentors and academics at UCL Institute of Education, we refined our pedagogical goals, research criteria, and our impact measures to test Musemio as an educational tool.
Using a mixed method approach that highlighted qualitative interviews and quantitative data sets through surveys, we were able to conclude that children were able to recall objects they have seen in the game and the narratives that surrounded them.
Feedback from one child’s Musemio Quest
The average age of children who took part in our trial was 8.9, which children as young as 5 and as old 13 participating. We were able to have cultural explorers who came from a variety of nationalities, spoke multiple languages or had another language as their native tongue, and enjoyed a vast array of interests in their own school. (Many of them never tried virtual reality before!)
Moreover, after the VR experience which could last between 10–20 minutes, we welcomed children to explore the museum after to find these objects themselves.
Child at the Petrie Museum
Children after the Musemio level did want to engage with the material further and ducked in and out of the exhibition cases to find the mummy portrait or fish plate they had seen in the game; even one little 8 year old adventurer wanted to spell her own name in hieroglyphics after she took part in a hieroglyph translation challenge within VR.
“I didn’t have to go to the place and got to use my imagination.” — Explorer, age 8
At Musemio, we aim to bridge culture and curriculum in a way children enjoy — by playing. Throughout this trial, we were not only able to refine our cultural components and pedagogy, but we were able to dive deeper in learning how children play within virtual reality. The best results for us though as an edtech company was that children were able to contextualize what they were learning and were able to translate this knowledge from the digital to the physical.
Thank you to all of our partners and participants for this trial! And we look forward to sharing our next adventures with you soon.
Are you excited to see what we do next, or want to find out the latest about Musemio’s development, join our community here! If you are interested in joining our cultural partner database, please email us at email@example.com.