The Smithsonian Institution in the Classroom

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The Smithsonian Learning Lab offers countless educational resources that enable online visitors to discover, create, and share.

The Smithsonian Institution comprises 19 museums and nine research centers, each one offering a vast number of resources for teachers and students. As those materials continue to move online, the question becomes how to access and make use of them.  To find the best answers, Carnegie Corporation of New York is awarding the Smithsonian a $500,000 grant that will fund a two-year research project. 

The grant will allow the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access to enhance the institution’s new Learning Lab, which launched in beta this fall.  As explained by the Smithsonian, the major focus of the work will be, how K–12 teachers and students use the Learning Lab. Conclusions will be based on a comparison of those who receive training and mentoring at pilot sites with those who access the material online independently without support. The goal is to make sure educators use these digital resources effectively to improve outcomes and allow for more personalized learning among students. 

Analysis of user activity will be conducted by the Center in partnership with Mark Warschauer, professor of education and informatics and interim dean of the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine, and participating classroom teachers.  Read more from the Smithsonian.