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Create Interactive Sorting Activities

By Tess Porter, Education Support Specialist, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access Sorting activities are not only a simple—and interactive—way to engage students with resources, the acts of sorting and classifying also develop skills essential to analytic thinking and problem solving. For young students, sorting teaches how to differentiate, notice patterns, and make connections between resources. As students get older, sorting with more complex resources and ideas he…

Complex Questions and Illuminating Conversations: Women’s History Month Resources on the Learning Lab

by Abby Pfisterer, Education Specialist, National Museum of American History Using thought-provoking questions tied to historical events and issues as the focal points for discussions is a powerful way to help students develop a deeper understanding of both historical events and current issues. More than simply sharing knowledge, these kinds of conversations challenge students to examine topics from multiple perspectives, to identify underlying causes, and to consider the consequences of d…

Modeling and Teaching Good Digital Citizenship

by: Darren Milligan, Senior Digital Strategist, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access Working with your students on the complexities of being a good digital citizen is an increasingly important component of guiding the next generation. There are all kinds of nuanced definitions out there, but I like this one from TeachThought: “the self-monitored habits that sustain and improve the digital communities you enjoy or depend on.” Common Sense Education describes the topics to prepare …

Many Lenses, Many Perspectives: African American History Resources on the Smithsonian Learning Lab

by: Candra Flanagan, Coordinator, Student and Teacher Initiatives, National Museum of African American History and Culture In her widely acclaimed 2009 TEDTalk, novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks of the danger of the single story. “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” One of the most important skills a student of history (whatever one’s age) develops i…

2017 Year in Review

Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year from the Learning Lab team here in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access! We are so inspired by the thoughtful and creative ways in which you, and the other 20,000 registered users of the Lab have mixed and mashed the resources of the 19 museums, 9 research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo, that make up the Smithsonian. We hope, in the year to come, that you will continue to find the resources and t…