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Looking Closely to See Far

As an educator in the office that built and manages the Smithsonian Learning Lab, I make presentations and offer professional development about it in schools all over the country. I demonstrate how to use the Lab and how it can support and enhance instruction. One of the most popular and effective approaches my colleagues and I have found is to incorporate into a collection a flexible and open-ended structure such as that of Visible Thinking Routines. These research-based routines develope…

Exploring the Chemistry of Space Flight

By: Virginia Miller, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Montgomery College, Rockville, MD I teach freshman chemistry at Montgomery College, the largest community college in Maryland, which serves a diverse population of approximately 60,000 students from over 150 countries. I was introduced to the Smithsonian Learning Lab when I participated in the Montgomery College-Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship Program. I am always seeking innovative tools to enhance student learning and engagem…

New White Paper Suggests Ways Using the Lab Can Achieve Educational Goals

"Integrating Authentic Digital Resources in Support of Deep, Meaningful Learning," a white paper prepared for the Smithsonian by Interactive Educational Systems Design Inc., describes instructional approaches that apply to successful teaching with the Smithsonian Learning Lab. After defining its use of terms such as deeper learning and authentic resources the authors review the research basis of three broad approaches that support integrating digital resources into the classroo…

Smithsonian Learning Lab Named Top 10 Tech of 2016 by School Library Journal

The team here at the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access is excited to announce that the School Library Journal has selected the Learning Lab for their Top 10 Tech of 2016! Along with their annual choices for best books and more, this year the Journal has included projects that highlight leading trends in how technology can better serve school librarians and the teachers and students they serve. Kathy Ishizuka, the Executive Editor of School Library Journal, summari…

Adapting Collections in the Learning Lab

By: Kate Harris, Learning Lab Coordinator, Pittsburgh, PA All teachers want more of one thing: time. The Learning Lab makes it easy to save time and effort with its "copy" function, which allows you to make an exact copy of the collection someone else has created for the purpose of adapting it. You can add or remove resources, change text, simplify a topic or make it more complex—it's up to you. Your adaptation does not change the original collection; instead it adds to the Learning La…