Wonder 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 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.
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].