Updates

Student Data: Privacy, Transparency, and Data Protections for Youth Users

Recently, SCLDA hosted the 2015 State Teachers of the Year for a day of behind-the-scenes “show and tell" at the Smithsonian, during which we introduced the Learning Lab and had informal discussions about what America's best teachers expected from Smithsonian digital resources. At my table, one teacher's eyes lit up when I asked her how she and her English language arts students might benefit. “Well, this will be a resource that I can trust," she ...

Presenting Our Research (at Museums and the Web 2015)

My colleague and conspirator, Melissa Wadman, and I were in Chicago last week at the annual Museums and the Web Conference. We presented our peer-reviewed paper, From Physical to Digital, Recent Research into the Discovery, Analysis, and Use of Museums Resources by Teachers and Students (slides available here). The paper shares the results of five independent, yet progressional, studies (those that led to the development of the Le...

Recommended: Using Large Digital Collections in Education, from DPLA

Over the past nine months, our friends Franky Abbott and Dan Cohen at the Digital Public Library of America have been investigating the educational use of their platform by talking to other online resource providers (including us here at the Smithsonian) as well as K–12 and undergraduate teachers, with the goal of better understanding how to serve this audience. From their report:We learned that educators are eager to incorporate primary sou...

Our Personas: Introducing Naomi, Javier, Samantha, and Nicole

A tool that our project team has opted to use in the process of creating the Learning Lab is the development of personas. Personas are a way of keeping users, or at least models for who your users might be, at the forefront of the conversation. They don't take the place of hard core user-centered practices (i.e. spending a lot of time talking and working with teachers), but they have been useful in defining our target users. The...

Building Teaching Collections for English Language Learners

If you've ever tried to learn (or teach) a second language, you know that trying to master fluency skills can be an intimidating process. Too many handouts with large blocks of text can become mental roadblocks for participation and might even leave you and your students a bit overwhelmed as you attempt to define everything word by word. A common learning strategy in ESL/EFL classrooms is to build vocabulary and strengthen confiden...