The Data Briefing: Air and Space Museum Launches New Mobile App into the Frontier of STEM Education

The Smithsonian Institution’s Air and Space Museum just released a new educational mobile app, Mobile Missions. From the website:

Find out if you are cut out for a career in aerospace with our free mobile app, Mobile Missions. Take our quiz to discover the best aerospace career for you. Explore objects from our collection related to your chosen profession. Answer challenge questions to receive in-app badges and rewards. Document your journey by inserting your selfie into a historical image related to your aerospace career and share with friends.

Logo the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Mobile Missions app

It is a beautifully-designed app with a great appeal to both young students and adults who are interested in aerospace careers. As a professor, I like the educational focus and how the various quizzes and job descriptions can help excite students about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) topics. The selfie feature is a fun touch and is a good way to publicize the app.

Another great feature of the app is that it helps the Air and Space Museum understand its visitors better. As people interact with the app and with the exhibits in the Museum, the Museum staff can better plan future exhibits and educational programs. The Air and Space Museum was the first of the Smithsonian Museums to release a mobile website and, now, the first Museum to release a mobile app.

Five screen captures from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Mobile Missions iPhone app

The Mobile Missions app is a great example other federal agencies can look to, to fulfill President Obama’s initiatives on STEM education. For example, the Department of Education could create a mobile app to help potential STEM students find appropriate STEM educational programs and learning resources. The Department of Interior could showcase biological science jobs in the National Park Service. There are many great federal STEM jobs that students also should be made aware of.Each week, The Data Briefing showcases the latest federal data news and trends. _Dr. William Brantley is the Training Administrator for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Global Intellectual Property Academy. You can find out more about his personal work in open data, analytics, and related topics at All opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of the USPTO or GSA._