20
Nov

What happens when you get thousands of DC-area teachers in the National Museum of Natural History after hours?

Absolute excitement. That is how I would describe the atmosphere of the Smithsonian's Teachers' Night on Friday, November 15. For those who are not familiar, Teachers' Night is a special night for educators to find new resources to use in the classroom and attend demonstrations showcasing Smithsonian programs and materials. Not only were teachers able to meet with Smithsonian educators, but they were also given lots of goodies, door prizes, and food as a way for us to show our appreciation for all that they do.

I was able to attend this event as a representative of the Smithsonian Science Education Center's (SSEC) publishing and technology division in order to showcase our newest game, Shutterbugs: Wiggle and Stomp, as well as answer any questions about our other digital initiatives. It was great to interact with teachers directly while sharing the unique features of the game with them. All of the teachers were delighted to know that they could use Shutterbugs in the classroom, track and monitor each student's progress, and print coloring pages as an incentive for mastering words in the game. There were so many teachers who were eager to learn more about the game that I ran out of informational flyers in the first hour!

Not only was I able to talk about Shutterbugs all night, but I also had the opportunity to watch Juliet Crowell, SSEC's Educational Program Specialist, conduct a demonstration from a lesson in one of our STC™ curriculum kits about the impact meteorites make when they strike the earth. Juliet did an amazing job of guiding two volunteers through the lesson.

Teachers' Night was an amazing experience. I enjoyed interacting with teachers and hearing first-hand accounts of how teachers have been using Smithsonian resources in their classroom. The enthusiasm the teachers had for teaching was hard to miss throughout the entire night. I am positive that this event sparked many new ideas in both teachers and Smithsonian staff alike. I am counting down the days until next year's Teachers' Night! 

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About the Author

Ashley Deese
Manager of Digital Media

202-633-2970

deesea@si.edu

Ashley Deese is the Manager of Digital Media at the Smithsonian Science Education Center, a part of the Smithsonian Institution, where she leads the digital media team throughout the production and distribution of Smithsonian STEM products such as game apps, interactives, and videos for children around the world. Ashley has produced internationally acclaimed and bestselling game apps for the Smithsonian such as “BumperDucks,” “Disaster Detector,” and “Showbiz Safari.” Ashley’s game app, “Morphy!,” received an honoree award by The Webby Awards in 2016. “Aquation: The Freshwater Access Game” was a 2018 nominee for The Webby Awards inaugural games category for Public Service & Activism. Ashley was named to the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list for her work in games.

Ashley is a voting member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a member of the Smithsonian Networks Review Committee for Smithsonian Channel, a Smithsonian unit editor for the Smithsonian Magazine Voices blog, member of the digital advisory board for the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative, and the co-chair for Smithsonian Gaming. She earned her BS in Biology from Methodist University and a MA in Interactive Media from Elon University.