SXSWedu 2016 – Smithsonian Learning Lab

One of the interesting new resources I discovered at SXSWedu this year is the Smithsonian Learning Lab.  This ambitious project spearheaded by The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access aims to give unprecedented access to the massive collections that have been digitized at the Smithsonian’s network of museums and research centers.  You can learn more about the Learning Lab’s intended mission here.

The Learning Lab offers images, recordings, and texts that you can, as a free registered member, curate into your own collections.  You can then annotate and make notes in your collection.  Adding your own files to the collection is another noteworthy feature. Collections can be shared, and teachers can assign collections to students in their rosters (similar to Google Classroom).  Here is a link to how teachers can use the Learning Lab.

Students under 13 need special permission to create collections of their own.  However, an elementary teacher could certainly benefit from using the images and other resources to supplement lessons. In a way, this Learning Lab is another type of virtual field trip, allowing students to see high resolution images of objects that might not even be on display at the museum any longer.

Here is a picture I found to place in my “Inventions” collection.  Any guesses as to the purpose of this object?

Image from Smithsonian Learning Lab: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Image from Smithsonian Learning Lab: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

 

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