The Science and Math Informal Learning Education (SMILE) pathway is serving the digital resource management needs of the informal learning community. The science and math inquiry experiences offered by science and technology centers, museums, and out-of-school programs are distinct from those found in formal classrooms. Interactive exhibits, multimedia presentations, virtual environments, hands-on activities, outdoor field guides, engineering challenges, and facilitated programs are just some of the thoughtfully designed resources used by the informal learning community to make science and math concepts come alive. With an organizational framework specifically designed for informal learning resources, the SMILE pathway is empowering educators to locate and explore high-quality education materials across multiple institutions and collections. The SMILE pathway is also expanding the participation of underrepresented groups by creating an easily accessible nexus of online materials, including those specifically added to extend the reach of effective science and math education to all communities. To promote the use of the SMILE pathway and the NSDL further, project staff are creating professional development programs and a robust online community of educators and content experts to showcase best practices tied to digital resources. Finally, to guarantee continued growth and involvement in the SMILE pathway, funding and editorial support is being provided to expansion partners, beyond the founding institutions, to add new digital resources to the NSDL.
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