WYOMING — The University of Wyoming Geological Museum is one of a select number of museums in the nation chosen by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to help develop a new digital learning platform called Museums for Digital Learning.
The museum will contribute resource kits for the testing phase of the project, which aims to connect K-12 teachers and students around the country with digital teaching and learning resources.
“It’s an honor to be selected as one of the few institutions IMLS chose to partner with to help develop and test activities using their new platform,” says Laura Vietti, the museum and collections manager. “We’ve worked with IMLS in the past, and I think it speaks well that IMLS remembers the University of Wyoming and chooses to continue working with us. I think it’s a good sign for future collaborations.”
Among the other participating museums are the Santa Fe Botanical Garden in Santa Fe, N.M.; the Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge, Mass.; the Museum of the City of New York; the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia; and the Driskell Center at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md.
Originally funded as a two-year pilot project through a National Leadership Grant to the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, the Museums for Digital Learning project aims to bring together museums of various disciplines, sizes and geographic regions to contribute to a shared digital platform offering collections-based educational resource kits. The Newfields Lab has been collaboratively leading the project and platform development.
This year, with K-12 educators continuing to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the project has become of significant value as museums pivot to gather and offer more digital teaching and learning resources.
During this second phase of the project, the project team will enhance and build out the platform and the digital resources by adding 25 resource kits and onboarding 35 additional museum content partners. The platform and resource kits also will be enhanced with new interactive features designed to increase student engagement, such as eBooks, gaming activities and a “collections hub” with exploratory, self-directed learning activities for students.
“Today’s students need engaging learning resources. Museums are equipped with rich assets that span different topics and time periods, which can provide unparalleled contextual content that makes learning relevant and fun,” says Paula Gangopadhyay, deputy director of the Office of Museum Services at IMLS. “We are very pleased with the success of the pilot project and look forward to the continued growth and use of the platform and resources.”
The official site will be launched at the end of this year with resource kits from all of the partner museums.