(BOSTON, MA) May 16, 2012, Boston Children's Museum's "Beyond the Chalkboard" recently was awarded Best of the Web by Museums and the Web in the Education category!
Beyond the Chalkboard (www.BeyondTheChalkboard.com) is home to the world's first free, online multidisciplinary curriculum created specifically for afterschool teachers, and it provides a model for how museums can deliver high-quality enrichment resources to this critical audience of educators. This curriculum offers hundreds of high-quality, engaging activities that were created over years of work with afterschool programs across the country, and it is being used in every state in the United States and over 90 countries around the world by tens of thousands of educators, reaching hundreds of thousands of children every year.
"We are so honored to receive this prestigious award. Boston Children's Museum has been serving afterschool educators and the children that they teach for over 50 years. This website is a reflection of that long-standing work," said Tim Porter BCM's Project Director. "Museums and the Web is an important and respected organization, and we were thrilled just to be considered alongside museums from all around the world."
Since 1997 Museums and the Web (MW) holds an annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science, and heritage on-line. Taking an international perspective, MW reviews and analyzes the issues and impacts of networked cultural, natural and scientific heritage - wherever the network may reach.
Award criteria included:
- Content for schools and teachers, and support for collaborative spaces for teachers to work together
- Content for students of any age, and provision of collaborative work spaces for students
- Interaction between museum staff and students, teachers, or educational groups of any level
- Integration of experiences of 'real' visits to museum and the educational Web site
- Provision of non-curriculum-based learning experiences and support of lifelong learning activities
- Easily identifiable target audience and clear pedagogical strategy
The panel of judges consisted of an extinguished group of 12 museum professionals and technology industry experts.
Beyond the Chalkboard for the first time fills a need that no other resource does, and brings museum-style informal education into afterschool programs in meaningful ways. It connects Boston Children's Museum to a community of users across the country and around the world: curriculum PDFs have been downloaded in countries on every continent and in every state in the U.S., and all of this broad and growing usage has occurred through word of mouth. This creates a stepping stone to something that has never existed before - a virtual gathering place for afterschool educators to visit and share ideas and information about providing academic enrichment experiences for children in their programs.