The Ontario Science Centre already has some interactive displays

Published: September 24th, 2014

Some believe that information technology is more of an art than a science — particularly after trying to configure a new piece of software.

Those that believe its the opposite will see Cisco Systems Canada’s new partnership with the Ontario Science Centre as validation. Cisco said Wednesday it will work with the centre to increase visitor interactivity and accessibility to displays to make it into a “connected museum.”

The idea is to help the museum to pull in a broader audience through new ways of exploring science. That will be done in part by upgrading the centre’s information and communications systems, allowing it to collaborate with initiatives including Cisco’s soon to be finished Internet of Things innovation centre in the city.

The networking company is also funding the first museum-based Cisco Science Fellow for Innovative Learning Technologies.  The first to hold the post is Sabrina Greupner, manager of the museum’s Weston Family Innovation Centre.

The fellowship will help her research the use of integrated technologies and solutions for learning science, enhancing the centre’s science education program, said to be the largest museum-based program of its kind in Canada.

Cisco isn’t the only technology company to partner with the museum. Telus Corp. is sponsoring its 45th anniversary Sept. 28.

The centre focuses on a wide range of topics that touch on science and technology, with an emphasis on letting visitors get their hands on displays. Current exhibits are on the science of rock and roll, the mysteries of the human body, the lemurs of Madagascar, and the winners of a youth innovation competition.

“By exploring technology solutions and integrating them into the new Science Fellowship, Cisco and the OntarioScience Centre hope to light a spark in the youth of today and encourage them to explore the potential that science and technology have to offer,” Nitin Kawale, Cisco Canada’s president, said in a release.

“This collaboration will allow us to develop new modalities of interaction with our visitors and to reach audiences beyond the centre,” said museum CEO Dr. Maurice Bitran. “Cisco‘s vision to enable innovation, particularly in education, is closely aligned with our own, and is one of the reasons this is an excellent relationship.”