Title:Moving from downloads to uploads: Toward an understanding of the curricular implications of access to large scale digitized museum collections on the professional practice of K–12 classroom educators
Authors:Darren Milligan
Publication:MW2016: Museums and the Web 2016

The need for museum strategy to be audience driven is now directed and enabled (in an accelerated way) by digital technologies. This allows, or requires, museums to understand the intersection between the needs of those it hopes to serve and the capacity of its own organization to meet them: to provide customized experiences and opportunities to unique audience groups. Educators are one of museums' historically most-valued audiences. Opportunities to have greater impact with teachers, their students, and the learning experiences they create, are great—greater than in the past, when museums focused on adult programming, school visitation, and exhibition-centered lesson plans. These new opportunities lie primarily in the utilization of museum collections and resources within the classroom, where the teacher can make use of them in ways that fit naturally into the learning process they have already developed for their students. To enable this, as we should, museums need to understand this group and how they use digital assets to design and deliver learning experiences.

This study looks towards the development of a reusable framework for addressing this need through an understanding of the evolving role of the museum in the education space, the process and knowledge bases required for teachers to be designers of learning resources, and finally the ways that technology itself (in this case, primarily the Web) changes the nature of teaching and learning. The framework proposed is used to develop a survey instrument that is then tested through a case study of an emergent digital platform for teachers, the Smithsonian Learning Lab.