Mission: To facilitate the creative use and sharing of the Smithsonian's digital materials, including more than a million images, recordings, and texts.
Background: The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access created the Smithsonian Learning Lab in 2015 to inspire the discovery and use of its digital assets by students, teachers, and lifelong learners. The site makes it easy for visitors to create customized collections of and educational experiences based on Smithsonian assets, and to share those collections and experiences with others. Behind the scenes, the Center for Learning and Digital Access works to develop digital learning models and works with Smithsonian museums and research centers to provide greater access to their collections, programs, and resources. The Learning Lab has received support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Grable Foundation, the Visual Resources Association Foundation, Lenovo, the Caplan Foundation for Early Childhood, and Annenberg Learner.
Outstanding Web Features: Visitors to the site can search a vast assortment of digital media resources, including lesson plans, digitized collections, videos, and blog posts; create and share personalized collections and learning experiences assembled using a variety of resources available through the site itself, or that have been uploaded and/or linked to from non-Smithsonian sources; and participate in online learning experiences created by Smithsonian staff or other educators, either independently or in collaboration with others. The site also provides tips for creating individualized searches and has a dedicated section for teachers where they can learn more about using Smithsonian assets to create richer classroom learning experiences. Visitors to the site who want more are invited to stay connected with the Learning Lab community, sign up for updates, and/or become a digital volunteer.