What are Wonder Walls

Wonder Wall ScreenshotWonder Walls connect group members (museum field trips, students, youth club members) with one or more moderators (curators, scientists, teachers, guest speakers) and with each other in a persistent, playful, colorful, visual communication space. Wonder Walls facilitate synchronous and asynchronous communication. The original Wonder Wall was an 8 foot by 3 foot large blank paper with colored markers. Visitors to the Children's Garden were encouraged to write anything they wondered about throughout the day. The electronic Wonder Wall began with the same premise, evolving through user experience testing and designers' recognition of technological affordances. Wonder Walls are specialized environments which facilitate affect (a sense of mystery, fun, excitement, and importance) and cognition (reflection and formulating questions).

Wonder Walls can...

  • Connect museums or gardens with school children beyond the field trip
  • Connect youth group members with each other between meetings
  • Connect classrooms with distant scientists
  • Engage learners with each other and encourage a sense of wonder
  • Create community in online courses

Wonder Wall Connections

  • Museum or garden curator to field trip classes
  • Scientist or professional to students
  • Teachers and students – within an in person or online class
  • Student to student - across different classes or countries
  • Youth club members with each other between meetings

Wonder Walls provide both synchronous and asynchronous connectivity. When users are logged on at the same time, they are aware of each other, see new posts as soon as they are posted, and can live chat with each other. All posts are permanent unless the poster or moderator deletes them, so users and moderators can log in later to read and add to the posts.

Synchronous Uses of Wonder Walls include

  • Scheduled meeting with a scientist, etc.
  • Kids meeting each other
  • Moderator answering questions

To learn more about using Wonder Walls to Connect Beyond the Field Trip, view the Connecting Beyond the Field Trip PowerPoint presentation at Museums and the Web, 2006. To learn more about using Wonder Walls in K-12 and higher education classes, read our description in the SIGGRAPH 2005's conference proceedings [PDF].

Introduction to Wonder Walls
Wonder Wall Features
Wonder Wall Licensing Information
Dow Foundation 4H Children's Garden Comm Tech Lab Michigan State University