Alumni Stories: Kimberly Skerritt
Major: Political Science
Current Position: EdLab Program Educator, Smithsonian National Postal Museum
Kimberly Skerritt is part of an exciting collaboration between Pearson Foundation, Nokia, and Smithsonian Institution. In workshops, Kimberly instructs educators on how to use mobile technology as a tool to access the collections at the Smithsonian. The teachers can use this technology to supplement the curriculum of their schools. She creates and facilitates multi-day seminars for teens and teachers, emphasizing integrating mobile learning technology in the classroom. This program focuses attention on educational theories such as Multiple Intelligences, and how these theories can be more actively engaged in school settings.
The purpose of this program is ultimately to increase participant engagement with Smithsonian collections through mobile devices. As a result of this collaboration, Kimberly has become a specialist for smart phone and video editing software.
Kimberly Skerritt explains her passion for her job: "Both schools and museums face an interesting dilemma in today's world: not being relevant to learners. What are visitors and students going to take away that will be applicable to their lives?
The Smithsonian EdLab was a program created by the Pearson Foundation and the Smithsonian dedicated to solving that problem and finding connections between Smithsonian resources, classroom content, and new media. After two years of experimentation, we have developed a model for using mission-based learning to get students outside the classroom, making connections between what is in their textbook and their community. Museums become not only a place for investigation and research, but also a forum for expression and participation. Technology, instead of being the focus of a mission, is a tool for documentation, collaboration, creation, presentation and more.
Our programs lead classroom teachers through experiencing, creating, testing, and reflecting on mission based learning practices. Here is an example of what one of our teacher's did this spring: After having her 8th grade students read the Hunger Games, this English teacher challenged her students to make a change in DC. They connected the main themes from the book to issues they see in their neighborhoods (e.g. teen violence, bullying, propaganda). Then they used historical examples seen through Smithsonian objects and exhibits, and interviewed local community members to propose solutions to DC's problems. The unit culminated with multimedia presentations to Kwame Brown, the DC City Council Chairman. Afterwards, one group, who presented on DC budget problems, was invited to testify at the city's budget hearings.
Learning becoming relevant? I'd say so."
Kimberly was a contractor for the Smithsonian over Summer 2010, and was invited to continue working at the National Postal Museum as a permanent employee in Fall 2010.
Kimberly learned about this position through her internship at the Smithsonian during her senior year at Hopkins.
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