Smithsonian Education Offers Opportunities for Summer Learning

Digital Badges Motivate Students Through Personal Exploration and Online Conferences Reveal the Work of Experts
June 18, 2014
News Release

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The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access is helping students avoid the summer learning slide with a collection of self-directed, project-based learning activities through its Smithsonian Quests program. Smithsonian Quests motivate young people with personal coaching from the Smithsonian and reward their achievements with digital badges. With more than 100 quest opportunities available, participants can explore interests, build skills and try out new roles. Popular badges include the Astrophotographer, the H2O Hero and the Symbols Spotter, which are interdisciplinary in nature and flexible for anytime, anywhere learning.

In addition to Smithsonian Quests, a comprehensive archive from the Smithsonian Online Education Conferences Series is now available for replay. The conferences highlight a variety of engaging topics and feature experts from the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, nine research centers and the National Zoo. Each hour-long session features Smithsonian curators, educators and specialists who explore themes through different disciplines and connect textbook learning to the world of their experience. With these resources conveniently located together for the first time, educators and students will find more than a hundred hours of presentations on such topics as climate change, the civil rights movement and problem solving in various academic disciplines.

“These digital resources can keep students thinking and exploring ideas during the summer,” said Michelle Smith, associate director for digital media at the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access. “The online conference sessions and the Smithsonian Quests highlight the real work of scientists, historians and other experts as relevant to future careers and prepare teachers and students for the next academic year.” 

About Smithsonian Institution

Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. There are 6,300 Smithsonian employees and 6,500 volunteers. Approximately 30 million people from around the world visited the Smithsonian in 2013. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at 137 million.


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