- The Smithsonian’s Learning Lab is based on their investigations of how teachers use digital collections. The Lab “. . . is a major rethinking of how the digital resources from across the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, 9 major research centers, the National Zoo, and more, can be used together, for learning.”
- Digital Public Library of America “. . . brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science.”
- Library of Congress Teacher Resources “. . . offers classroom materials and professional development to help teachers effectively use primary sources from the Library’s vast digital collections in their teaching.” The link contains lesson plans and other resources that align with Common Core and other curricula standards.
- Getting Your Feet Wet with Evaluation – An AASLH webinar and example of a no-cost resource available for the small to medium-size museum professional. The 2013 webinar features presentations by a professional evaluator and three museum practitioners along with evaluation survey templates and guidelines.
Evaluating Educational Programs
- A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators, is the daily blog post by the American Evaluation Association. Though the posts can be rather specific to the needs of professional evaluators there are over 40 posts in the arts, culture and audience archive. A site search using the keyword “museum” turned up many hits.
- The Evaluation Resources is maintained by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and contains links to many aspects of an evaluation process including project planning tools, glossary of common terms, bibliography, and other resources.
- The Denver Evaluation Network is a consortium of museum professionals in the Denver area who sought “to realize the power of public value and the importance of aligning with community needs and interests.” The website details the background and goals of the evaluation network, the project results and related publications.
- Museum Well Being Measures Toolkit by the University College London (UCL) Museums & Public Engagement. The Toolkit “focuses on levels of self-reported changes in mood and emotion as these aspects of wellbeing are the ones that are more likely to change as a result of a short intervention, such as participating in a museum or gallery activity.”
Newsletters, Blogs, Listservs
- Indiana Jen – Jennifer Carey has created cultural heritage and technology podcasts and blogs for the past decade. She is currently the Director of Educational Technology at the Ransom Everglades School in Miami Florida. Her blogs focus on the interface of digital technology applications, education, and cultural studies with both in-depth coverage and helpful tips.
- Online Learning Insights – While not directly tied to cultural heritage studies, Debbie Morrison’s blog is our primary “go to” source for discussions of all matters related to online education. Readily applicable to museum studies, Debbie’s posts strip away the gimmick and fad for a thoughtful presentation of online trends.
- Museum-Ed – was launched “to meet the needs of museum educators by providing tools and resources by and for the museum education community.” The site has a link to subscribe to the firstname.lastname@example.org listserv. The rest of the site contains quite a few links that focus on evaluation. The bulk of the site content was loaded in 2013 with only a few recent updates. The email@example.com listserv remains quite active.
- The History Tech by curriculum consultant Glenn Wiebe combines the latest in digital resources, software, and innovative thinking to bring history into the classroom. The blog is focused less on the gadgetry and more on the application of the tools.
- Museum Questions is by Rebecca Herz, Director of the Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum. Besides her own insightful presentations, the blog features interviews with museum educators who specialize in administration, field trips, classroom presentations, curriculum standards, and more. The site also contains a list of resources.
A Sampling of Museum Educational Offerings
- Courage in the Civil Rights Movement: A Resource for Educators by Jody Stokes-Casey for the National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis. See Jody’s article that discusses this project in Positioning Your Museum as a Critical Community Asset: A Practical Guide.
- Both the The Brooklyn Museum and The McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture are excellent examples of venues with strong and comprehensive community educational programs.
Tools to Foster Design Thinking
- Stanford Design School Design Thinking Overview – Standard University provides a detailed yet quick “crash course” in the Design Thinking process. For a discussion of the application of design thinking see the article by Nur Abadalla and Lyndsey Pender in Positioning Your Museum as a Critical Community Asset: A Practical Guide.
- Design Thinking for Educators links to multiple resources, including a toolkit, on how to use Design Thinking in a school setting.
- Mind Mapping Technique is an overview of the application, its uses, and available software. This link provides a more detailed overview of mind mapping as developed by Tony Buzan.
Professional Conferences and Associations
- The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is a forty-year old organization at the forefront in implementing digital technology in the education process. The organization is less about gadgets and more about developing programs that truly empower students, primarily on the K-12 level. ISTE holds an annual conference and their website links to an abundance of resources.
- New Media Consortium – in addition to publishing an annual report that forecasts digital trends in education the organization curates a robust set of discussion papers on their website.
- National Council for the Social Studies – The premier K-12 social studies organization for networking, resources, and discussions. The Council hosts a mega-sized annual conference with a diverse set of participants of interest to cultural heritage professionals.
Our Contributors Recommend
Free Online Articles
- Meaning Making Matters: Communication, Consequences, and Exhibit Design by Lois H. Sullivan
- What We Do Best: Making the Case for the Museum Learning in its Own Right, by Ben Garcia, Journal of Museum Education, 2012. Garcia’s article is an empowering piece on the importance of informal learning opportunities and museum education advocacy.
- Excellence in Practice: Museum Education Principles and Standards, American Alliance of Museums EdCom (AAM) Standing Professional Committee on Education (EdCom). Washington, D.C.: American Association of Museums, 2005. This publication emphasizes the importance of accessibility, accountability, and advocacy within education departments and serves as a guide for best practices and ethical standards for museum educators.
& In Print References
- Learning from Museums: Visitor Experiences and the Making of Meaning by John Howard Falk and Lynn Diane Dierking, AltaMira Press, 2000. This resource explores the process of free-choice learning in museums.
- Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research by Richard A. Krueger and Mary Anne Casey, 2014
- Trilling, Bernie, 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times by Bernie Trilling, Jossey-Bass, 2012
- Building School 2.0, Chris Lehmann and Zac Chase, Jossey-Bass, 2015
- Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education by Sir Ken Robinson, Viking, 2015
The Kitchen Sink
- SXSWedu is one of the family of events flowing from the popular SXSW Conference. “The SXSWedu Conference & Festival fosters innovation in learning . . . for four days of compelling sessions, in-depth workshops, engaging learning experiences, mentorship, film screenings, startup events, policy-centered discussions, business opportunities, and networking.”
- Creative Common Resources for Classroom Teachers is a blog post by Bill Ferriter with links, including brief videos that introduce Creative Commons resources including their appropriate use and citation.
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – often discussed set of criteria on which educational programs are based.
- Cool Cat Teacher by Vicki Davis, @coolcatteacher, hosts a blog and tweets on bringing technology into the classroom.
- Let’s Teach Our Students About Copyright: 15 Sites That Can Help You is a much-needed resource that covers a subject often overlooked or poorly understood in the digital age.