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It’s a podcast! Darren, Ashley, and the incredible Smithsonian Learning Lab

I had the opportunity to run into Ashley Naranjo and Darren Milligan last summer at the 2016 ISTE conference during their rollout of the new Smithsonian Learning Lab. And I was blown away. Seriously.

And, yes, Ashley and Darren were incredible. They’ve got the chops. But it was the Learning Lab and all of its cool tools that really got me fired up. I was literally writing a blog post during their presentation.

At the time, I said:

This will change how you and your kids collect, organize, share, and analyze primary evidence. It is seriously that good.

And after getting the chance to talk with them via Skype two days ago, I remain blown away. The Smithsonian Learning Lab truly can and should change how we do our jobs. At its core, the Lab is an online storage facility for 2,000,000 Smithsonian primary sources that gives you the opportunity to access those sources, organize them into collections, and share those collections with students.

And wait for it.

Your kids can do the same thing. So whether it’s you who creates the collection or your students do it, the Lab is a powerful way of curating resources. And it’s done in a beautiful, image driven environment that encourages users to make sense of the past and apply it to contemporary issues in ways not possible even five years ago.

So if you haven’t had a chance to experience the sweetness that is the Learning Lab, head over now and check it out. Create an account. Scroll down and view the two how-to videos.

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Click on the Discover, Create, Share options. Browse through the how-to videos for each of those.

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Check out Ashley’s collection on World War II home front propaganda posters.

si-lab-3

Then come back here for Part One of our conversation. You’ll get the chance to hear Ashley and Darren as they provide powerful insights into the reason for creating the site and examples of how you can use it. (Plus you’ll walk away with cool backstage info like how the Smithsonian can digitize an artifact every seven seconds.)

ashley-naranjo darren-milligan

 

Next week? Part Two.

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