Incorporating K-12 Outreach into Digitized Collections Programs Workshop

The iDigBio Education and Outreach Working Group collaborated with the Smithsonian Institution on a two-day workshop entitled Incorporating K-12 Outreach into Digitized Collections Programs held December 5-6, 2016, at Q?rius, The Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The workshop was attended by 30 participants with diverse backgrounds in formal and informal education, digital resources, and collections-based outreach.

Weeks before the workshop commenced, the planning team developed an outline for a best practices and recommendations document for reaching K-12 educators and learners through digitized collections. The intended audience for this document are members of the natural history digital collections community seeking to improve and integrate STEM education and teacher professional development within K-12. All participants were given the opportunity to view, edit, and add to the outline prior to the workshop, as well as choose which sections of the document they would like to work on during for the workshop.

Day One of the workshop began with participant introductions followed by a series of 10 minute presentations on NSF broader impacts, integrating digitized collections into formal and informal settings, creating effective online resources, broadening participation, assessment and evaluation, and examples of successful digitized collections-based K-12 outreach. The presentations were designed to get everyone on the same page about the major topics and issues facing collections personnel wanting to engage k-12 audiences with digitized collections.  After a catered lunch, participants broke out into groups to work on different sections of the outline. At the end of the day everyone came back together and discussed progress, issues, and questions.

Day Two was dedicated entirely to working on the collaborative document. All groups were able to create either a rough draft or a detailed outline of their section by the end of the workshop. A sign-up sheet was created for people to pledge to continue refining the document after the workshop, and a deadline was agreed upon for the completion of all edits. When complete, this resource will be disseminated to the collections community and will hopefully help to increase the community’s understanding of the best strategies for engaging K-12 audiences with digitized collections. You can find presentations, links to the collaborative documents, and more on the workshop Wiki.

Special thanks to the workshop planning team (Jillian Goodwin, Amy Bolton (SI Lead), Betty Dunckel, Bruce MacFadden, Marcia Mardis, Andrea Miller, Anne Basham, Molly Phillips, Shari Ellis, and Liz Shea) for organizing and the Smithsonian Institution and Amy Bolton for hosting this workshop!