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You have found the public wiki space for the development of the project:

Digital Learning Resources Project




Update 1/8/2015
The Smithsonian digital toolset prototype was tested with middle school audiences between June and October 2014 in College Park, MD and Chico, CA. This testing continued exploring middle school students' needs to become active creators of museum digital resources personalized for learning and informs the work on the Smithsonian Learning Lab project. The preliminary report can be found here.



Update 10/1/2014

The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access is now developing a new digital platform, called the Smithsonian Learning Lab, based on the findings of the Digital Learning Resources Project!

Follow along as we develop the site towards its launch in the Fall of 2015.




Update 7/10/2013
We are excited to announce that the DLRP project has received a University of Maryland & Smithsonian Institution Seed Research Grant to continue exploring the role of digital museum resources in learning. This project will focus on middle school students' needs to become active creators of digital resources personalized for learning. A brief project overview is available on this wiki, with lots more to come.



Update 2/15/2013
Added a brief (2-page) overview of the project and its findings.



Update 11/14/2012
Volume III of the project, Report of Findings, Teacher Research and Prototype Testing is now available.

Volume IV of the project, Technical Requirements Document is now available.

Volume III (part 2) of the project, Report of Findings, Teacher Research and Prototype Testing Appendix is now available.



Update 11/9/2012
The findings are rolling in. Check out the Literature Review, Environmental Scan, and the Final Report, now available!



Update 5/1/2012
The Smithsonian has been committed to supporting the work of educators with teaching resources since 1900 when we began distributing “school sets” of specimens. Today, our online database of digital learning resources contains nearly two thousand items created by Smithsonian educators aided by teachers, with guidance and review by our curators and researchers. Prestigious and influential educational organizations recommend these resources to teachers, and they have won awards for excellence.

When we investigate the actual use of most lesson plans and instructional materials, however, teachers say that they do not use the resources as published, preferring instead to deconstruct, rearrange, adapt, and pick-and-choose elements that suit the needs of their curriculum and students. This time-consuming experience discourages repeat visits to our sites and usage of our resources. This Project aims to change our online users from passive recipients of prescribed content into active creators of digital resources personalized for learning in their own classrooms. Our goal is to understand what would be required to give educators a new online “resource-creation” toolset that would enable them to use Smithsonian digital content in a way that is responsive to a constructivist framework that recognizes the learners’ active participation in the learning process. Our target audience is educators in the lowest-performing school districts, based on the premise that tools that serve teachers facing the greatest challenges will also benefit the larger education community, especially in a time when school budgets across the nation have been reduced.

The Smithsonian’s existing digital resources are important to educators as the raw materials of instruction. These resources include images, collections, video and audio clips, interactive games, data sets, lesson plans, websites, and brief written overviews of topics and themes that convey our expertise and experience in many disciplines. This Project will create, test, refine, and finalize a new access-and-use model (or “resource-creation toolset”) that can be applied to the Smithsonian’s digital resources. The Project is specifically designed to support teachers in underperforming schools to meet the needs of their students by enabling them to easily construct relevant resources. Through our development process, participating educators will create resources (which may be similar to those educators at the Smithsonian are already creating, or may vary widely depending on subject, intended use, and content) personalized for their own classrooms and students, and they will participate in the process of creating an online toolset they—and teachers everywhere—can use again and again to create what they and their students need.

The project team will observe the behaviors and preferences of educators in intensive and iterative workshops as they navigate our prototypes and construct learning resources. Further, because innovative work is being done by educators and organizations around the world, Smithsonian will examine existing strategies, models, software and other tools that may already exist to both minimize development costs and to integrate our project into mainstream—but innovative—thinking in the national education community.



Purpose of this Wiki

  1. Involve internal and external stakeholders, experts, and educators everywhere in the development of this project
  2. Provide a transparent, fast, and durable medium for project development and refinement
  3. Demonstrate the potential of an open, public process



Questions? Comments?


Contact Darren Milligan at milligand@si.edu or @darrenmilligan



The Digital Learning Resources Project (Student Toolkit) is funded by a University of Maryland & Smithsonian Institution Seed Grant.

The initial phases (Teacher Toolkit) of the Digital Learning Resources project were funded by a Smithsonian Youth Access Grant administered by the Smithsonian Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Outreach, with contributions by the Pearson Foundation, Brokers of Expertise of the California Department of Education, and the Council of Chief State School Officers.