Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies (SCEMS) is a pan-Institutional office of education whose mission is to increase the Smithsonian’s impact as a resource for learning. SCEMS has a 35-year history of publishing for teachers, 15 years’ experience producing websites for teachers and students and has recently concluded research into user needs and behavior that indicates the necessary next steps on the site. We have been working with partners to develop and disseminate educational materials for more than a decade, co-publishing with Advanced Placement and collaborating on curriculum adopted by Montgomery County (MD) Schools, in 2002. SCEMS has been the lead office in several innovative technology-supported projects for learning, the Shout Global Education Initiative with Microsoft Partners in Learning, the Vanished alternate reality science education game with MIT, and interactive online education conferences.
Brokers of Expertise (BoE) (www.myboe.org) is California’s online initiative to give teachers the resources they need to improve instruction and close the achievement gap in California schools. BoE is a development partner with the U.S. Department of Education Learning Registry Project through the STEM Exchange initiative of the National Science Digital Library. BoE has included Smithsonian Education resources since fall 2010. As a statewide project of the K-12 High Speed Network, BoE is managed by the Butte County Office of Education (BCOE) which has a long history of developing and distributing educational resources and materials having implemented more than 20 statewide systems for diverse educational initiatives and populations utilizing Web 2.0 technologies.
Pearson Foundation New Learning Institute’s goal is to harness the excitement and potential of new technologies as tools for learning both inside and outside the classroom. In professional development workshops, classroom residencies, and programs, the New Learning Institute employs the latest in digital communications technology, including the new generation of applications that are transforming the way young people access and use information. Institute programs at the Smithsonian, now in their second year, are training educators and students in the skills needed to use this technology and help them explore the possibilities that are open to them.
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), a Smithsonian collaborator since 2006, is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. The Smithsonian works with CCSSO’s Teachers of the Year (ToYs), bringing them here every year for professional development. ToYs are part of this resource-creation toolkit project, and we will also recruit participants from CCSSO’s Next Generation Learners Initiative, which is creating personalized learning systems that prepare every student—regardless of his or her circumstance—for life, meaningful work, and citizenship.
Cross & Joftus, LLC (“C&J”), is an education consulting firm dedicated to providing education leaders with personalized and expert assistance in policy analysis and development, evaluation, executive coaching, planning, and communication strategies. For the past seven years, C&J has worked with school districts, foundations, and non-profit organizations on a broad array of topics, including strategic planning, school and district reform, governance, accountability, teacher quality, open educational resource (OER) development, literacy, and program evaluation and improvement. C&J has been contracted by SCEMS to manage this project and ensure high-quality and timely results.
Navigation North (NavNorth) is a full production code development and programming studio that specializes in developing comprehensive technical solutions for a variety of real-world issues. Over the last seven years, Navigation North has provided design and web development services to commercial, non-profit, government, and educational organizations, with an emphasis on building and managing learning communities. As the internet has expanded and needs have changed over time, importance has shifted towards dynamic context-based functionality, connecting disparate data points, and sharing programming interfaces between external systems. Housing a community of expert learning specialists, instructional designers, and programmers, Navigation North brings a full-response model to any web-based development process or digital learning initiative regardless of size and scope. NavNorth will be handling the technical development and prototype creation for this project, in collaboration with C&J.