Using the Smithsonian Learning Lab to Promote Innovation Thinking

Part of CreateWorld 2016

Chris Campbell (UQ) and Kathy Mackey

Innovation Thinking is a broader cycle of inquiry that allows teachers and students to use and embrace STEAM problem solving across a range of curriculum areas. This builds on the traditional design cycle and explores economic and historical applications including the pre-conditions for invention, how we learn to recognise the unusual and to see new connections and possibilities. This presentation will combine the innovation thinking and the Smithsonian’s new Learning Lab. Participants will work to remix and repurpose resources to form digital collections online in the Learning Lab and will plan how to draw from museum resources to design an innovative solution, product or service. The Smithsonian Learning Lab is a new online platform that allows educators and students to discover the 1.5 million resources, as well as create their own collections using a variety of resources including the Learning Lab’s. Participants will also share their created collections with others such as other teachers and potentially their students.

This presentation is hands on with participants completing activities on the cycle of inquiry and also using the learning lab to enhance their knowledge of Innovation Thinking.


Dr Chris Campbell is a lecturer in Digital Technologies at The University of Queensland and is a 2016 Queensland-Smithsonian Fellow who visited the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA) and investigated ways the Learning Lab can be used by educators. Her skills in implementing and trialling new technologies are well documented in high quality publications reporting her research in online tools in educational settings, including LAMS, Second Life and Assistive eXtra Learning Environments as well as research in technology integration. Her current research projects include a learning design project with Malaysian school teachers called “Teaching on the cloud: Designing for learning” and research in STEM education. Chris teaches both pre-service and in-service teachers in the areas of digital technologies, innovation and leadership.

Dr Kathy Mackey is a visual artist Deputy Principal and Manager of the Queensland Academies. She also undertook a Smithsonian Fellowship with the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access in 2015 and aligned SCLDA’s strategies with those of Queensland Academies Young Scholars/Queensland Academies Partnerships (QAPS) online and face to face middle school to enhance that organisations framework for innovative strategies for highly capable Yr 5-9 students based on contemporary scientific inquiry, research methodologies and design thinking as a form of innovation inquiry.

Mackey and Campbell