The new Smithsonian Learning Lab provides online tools for teachers to engage students in a blended learning environment for K-12 classrooms and college campuses.

“Not everyone can come to the Smithsonian, but they can visit the Learning Lab to inspire and design their own digital learning experiences,” said Stephanie Norby, director of the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access. “Teachers can use trusted, authentic resources and interactive tools to make lessons more relevant and compelling to students while meeting curriculum standards and fostering higher-order thinking skills.”

The Learning Lab provides free access to more than a million digital resources for students and teachers to discover, create, and share their ideas.

“These resources aren’t a traditional lesson plan,” said Darren Milligan, the senior digital strategist for the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access. “They’re not designed and formatted and published as a really specific sequence. They are built in a way that enables a teacher to customize them.”

Teachers can explore based on a specific discipline and customize the resources with notes, assignments, or other interactive learning activities. As these customized resources are built by educators or students, they can share their creations with other Learning Lab users.

“For students, it’s going to be more about them–where they have a chance to explore their interests,” said Norby.  “[It is] easy for a teacher to tailor it to those particular needs to those particular voices she has in the classroom.”


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