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
Acting Division Director of Digital Media & Communications



Ashley Deese is the Assistant Division Director for Digital Media and Communications at the Smithsonian Science Education Center, a part of the Smithsonian Institution, where she leads the digital media and communications team throughout the production and distribution of Smithsonian STEM products such as games, apps, eBooks, and videos for children around the world. Ashley has produced internationally acclaimed and bestselling products for the Smithsonian such as “Pick Your Plate! A Global Guide to Nutrition,” “Disaster Detector,” and “Stories of Women in STEM at the Smithsonian.” “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 at the Smithsonian. In 2020, “Tami’s Tower: Let’s Think About Engineering” and “Aquation: The Freshwater Access Game” was named to the 2020 American Library Association’s Notable Children’s Digital Media list.

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 a founding member of the Rolling Stone Culture Council. She earned her BS in Biology from Methodist University and a MA in Interactive Media from Elon University.