Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
$6.5 Million raised
Your Digital Smithsonian
The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access connects learners through websites and professional development programs to the institution’s vast resources, empowering them to explore interests, collaborate and reach personal and educational goals.
The center develops models and methods for digital learning through extensive research and evaluation and provides 21st-century tools for creative use of Smithsonian digital resources. It works with Smithsonian museums to provide greater access to their collections, programs and education materials. For 30 years, the center has created experiences for K-12 teachers and students, including public events, workshops and online games.
Smithsonian Learning Lab (learninglab.si.edu), launched in 2016, offers access to more than one million images, recordings and texts, including many items not on display. Now anyone, including teachers and students, can explore what once was available only by visiting the Smithsonian. Users create personalized learning experiences, lesson plans and collections to share with others. Iconic treasures can be downloaded, printed and annotated for study in the classroom.
A $1.4 million campaign gift from the Pearson Foundation supported the creation of Learning Lab, evaluation of teacher needs and related training for teachers across the United States. After beta testing with teachers, generous grants from the Grable Foundation and Carnegie Corporation funded testing of Learning Lab with social studies teachers in Pittsburgh.
The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access enables young learners to explore their interests and collaborate with others to bring ideas to life. For 30 years, the center has published educational materials for millions of teachers and young people, delivered professional development, hosted public events and workshops and provided one access point to Smithsonian educational resources.
More recently, the center has pioneered ways in which museums can employ educational technology by creating online conferences, games, quests and competitions. Now, innovations in technology have provided the means and impetus for creating personalized digital experiences to reach even larger audiences and have a greater impact.
The center is developing a digital laboratory for educators, young people and families. This opens up a world of possibilities for visitors to develop their own interests or take action in their communities. The online lab also builds skills for school, future careers and lifelong learning.
The Smithsonian inspires people to explore the universe through a robotic telescope, submit projects to a Smithsonian mentor for feedback, talk with a Smithsonian expert virtually or create art with Smithsonian images. A gift to the center will help us reach our goal. No matter where you live, no matter how you learn, you can engage with the Smithsonian to pursue your own interests and discover new ones.
- Stephanie NorbySmithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
Building a Digital Future
ACCESS TO EDUCATION
The Center for Learning and Digital Access is developing new content and tools for its online portal, the Smithsonian Learning Lab, with a core group of educators from across the country. This portal will allow learners and educators to explore by subjects — science, history, art and culture.
Users can delve deeply into a topic, such as prehistoric climate change, through videos, games and audio lessons. The center will train educators to use these new resources and tools, both online and in person.
Gifts to the Smithsonian Campaign will strengthen the center’s capacity to connect to a larger audience through our innovative and engaging experiences. At the same time, we will continue to serve our long-term audiences of teachers and schools.
SPACES FOR EDUCATION
Similar to a physical classroom, the Smithsonian Learning Lab will offer a place for discovery and rich educational experiences. As if in a science laboratory, students will examine and analyze our collections and share their findings. As if in an art studio, students will use Smithsonian digital assets to create and share with others. As if in a history seminar, participants will discuss ideas and find guidance from our experts. Learners will access all of the Smithsonian’s recordings and media with new tools for exploring, as though they were in a media center.
Your investments in the campaign will allow us to build the Smithsonian Learning Lab, which will keep pace with new media and technical advances.
LEADERS IN EDUCATION
The Smithsonian Campaign will provide us with the resources to become an education leader in the innovative use of museum digital resources. Campaign gifts will enable us to partner with major universities and other leading authorities in education and media. We will continually evaluate the Smithsonian Learning Lab to measure its impact and make improvements.
Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
is raising $8 million of the Smithsonian Campaign’s overall $1.5 billion goal.
Access to Education
We seek $2 million to provide professional development and technical support for educators to take full advantage of the Smithsonian Learning Lab’s innovative tools.
Spaces for Education
We seek $5 million for our Smithsonian Learning Lab, which will create personalized learning experiences targeted to educators and students, and open to all.
Leaders in Education
We seek $1 million to conduct research and evaluation and establish ongoing partnerships to expand the center’s network.
Donnelley, Bob and Miranda
Since 1864, R.R. Donnelley has printed educational books for every age. Robert Donnelley, a Smithsonian National Board alumnus, continues the family tradition of focusing on education by supporting the Teacher of the Year Awards and Quests teacher mentors, hosted by the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access. “The national outreach of Smithsonian education is immense; they reach every corner of the country through these teachers and their resources,” he says. “Through partnerships with schools, libraries and museums, the Center brings the Smithsonian to everyone.”
Grable Foundation Trains Educators
Through a gift from the Grable Foundation, the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access is bringing the Smithsonian into Pittsburgh classrooms. The center is training middle school teachers to integrate the Smithsonian's online assets — videos, publications and digital images — into their teaching. "When students can examine and research an object, their understanding deepens," says Tracey Armant, a program associate at Grable.