We’re helping schools make use of mobile and digital technologies; identifying and supporting new approaches that encourage deeper learning inside and outside the classroom; and celebrating the remarkable ways that young people are using 21st century skills to make a difference in their local communities.
Much of our effort is focused on work we manage ourselves and in concert with leading partner organizations. This focus began with the development of the Mobile Learning Institute—a hands-on program we designed and delivered with Nokia beginning in 2006. The U.S. based version of this same program provided direct, hands-on learning opportunities to more than 35,000 young people and educators in classrooms and community organizations across the United States. Beginning in 2010, the Mobile Learning Institute at the Smithsonian has made it possible for Smithsonian educators—beginning at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and at the National Postal Museum, and at museums across the Smithsonian—to test and share ways to use mobile devices and digital media in a museum setting.
Two additional programs now aim to do more: Our New Learning Institute works with leading learning innovators to develop, document, and present mobile- and digital-learning projects taking place in classrooms, museums, and community organizations across the United States. Our digital magazine, LEARNING STARTS, similarly shares with parents and teachers the ways in which these deeper approaches and new technologies are changing the way young people learn now.
We’ve continued to build on this commitment by underwriting—together with the MacArthur Foundation—two documentary films that investigate deeper learning: New Learners of the 21st Century (2012), and Is School Enough? (2013) both aired nationwide on PBS and have been the subject of numerous local screenings and discussions.
We are also connecting teachers, students, and the educational organizations that serve them through our newest initiative Project MASH; a new social learning network. Supported by the Pearson Foundation’s New Learning Institute, Project MASH makes it easy for teachers and students to find and share learning experiences developed in partnerships with the nation’s best learning organizations.
Watch the film series and learn about real experiences from the Smithsonian