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The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access has announced that its Smithsonian Learning Lab (learninglab.si.edu) was named the Best Education Website in the 23rd Annual Webby Awards. Hailed as the “internet’s highest honor” by the New York Times, the Webby Awards, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, is the leading international awards organization honoring excellence on the internet. The center and the Smithsonian Learning Lab will be honored at the Webby Awards ceremony Monday, May 13, in New York City.
“As a former teacher and curriculum coordinator in the Midwest, most of my students never had the opportunity to visit the Smithsonian,” said Stephanie Norby, the center’s director. “Through the Learning Lab, they can examine, collect and study the same specimens, artifacts and artworks used by our experts.”
For 40 years, the center has created learning experiences for teachers and students. However, recent innovations in digital technology have transformed the landscape—from the extraordinary level of access to museum resources to the ability of learners and educators to personalized learning experiences. To understand the needs of teachers, students and museum educators, the center spent more than a decade in active experimentation and research, culminating in the launch of this platform—the Smithsonian Learning Lab.
“The Smithsonian Learning Lab has set the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet,” said Claire Graves, executive director of the Webby Awards. “This award is a testament to the skill, ingenuity, and vision of its creators.”
The Learning Lab, which launched in 2016, makes available more than 3 million digitized resources from across the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, as well as its research centers, libraries, archives and the National Zoo. These resources and online collections offer new ways of learning for teachers and students, who, through digital tools, can customize and share collections to match their educational needs.
“Every teacher and student, anyone hoping to learn more, to dig deeper, now has access to the Smithsonian, and through the Learning Lab, also to the tools to use these resources to learn something or to create something new,” said Darren Milligan, Learning Lab director and senior digital strategist.
About the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
The Smithsonian established the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access in 1976 to serve public education by bringing Smithsonian collections and expertise into the nation’s classrooms. For more than 40 years, it has published educational materials and provided one access point to Smithsonian educational resources. The center now studies how teachers and students use digital museum resources and broadly disseminates this knowledge through professional development to advance museum and digital learning.
About the Webby Awards
The Webby Awards is the leading international awards organization honoring excellence on the internet, including websites, video, advertising, media and PR, apps, mobile, and voice, social, podcasts and games. Established in 1996, this year’s Webby Awards received nearly 13,000 entries from all 50 states and 70 countries worldwide. The Webby Awards is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.
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