Smithsonian Office of Educational Technology

February 14, 2024
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Director: Julia Novakowski


The Smithsonian Office of Educational Technology uses museum resources to empower learners to explore their interests, to collaborate with others, and to reach their personal and educational goals. The office develops models and methods for digital learning through extensive research and evaluation initiatives, provides tools for creative personal use of Smithsonian digital resources and works with Smithsonian museums and research centers to provide greater access to their extensive collections, programs and learning resources.


Since 1971, the office made the Smithsonian accessible and useful for individual learning, offering a wide range of services, including teacher professional development, distance education programs, instructional materials and more. The office works directly with educators and audiences in the Washington, D.C., area through its heritage programming, community literacy projects, digital arts camps for teenagers with cognitive disabilities and the Montgomery College–Smithsonian Faculty Fellowships program, which provides professional development to community college teachers. The office extends the results of this work, among other programs, to learners throughout the nation through digital-media initiatives, sharing what they have learned and developed for others to use and adapt.

The office’s major, long-term digital-education project, the Smithsonian Learning Lab (, is designed to reimagine and ultimately reinvent the way students, teachers and lifelong learners interact with and use the Smithsonian’s resources. Launched in beta testing in October 2015, the Learning Lab is an engaging digital destination that enables everyone to discover Smithsonian resources, create customized collections and educational experiences, and share their work with others worldwide.

Through the Learning Lab and its other projects, the office is committed to advancing the use of the Smithsonian’s digital assets in innovative ways that shape the future of learning.

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