darren milligan

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Darren Milligan is the Senior Digital Strategist for the Smithsonian Institution's Office of Educational Technology in Washington, D.C. He specializes in strategy for educational impact through user-centered research and the development of tools and services for making online cultural and scientific heritage resources accessible and useful to educators and learners. He recently served as the Interim Director of the Office where he and his team set the strategic direction for the use of technology in educational outreach for the Smithsonian. His work has included producing educational publications and interactive experiences, such as online games, alternate reality games, and simulations; managing communication and marketing to teachers across the Smithsonian’s museums and research centers; developing methodologies for the creation and dissemination of educationally-relevant metadata; and directing web platforms, including the first online portal for educational resources at the Smithsonian, SmithsonianEducation.org (winner of the 2007 and 2008 People’s Voice Webby Award for Best Cultural Institution Website). Darren currently leads the Smithsonian Learning Lab, an online software platform that encourages the creative and educational reuse of more than five million digitized objects from the Smithsonian collection. The Learning Lab supports millions of educators and students as they discover and integrate the vast resources of the Institution into their teaching and learning. The Lab received the 2019 Webby Award for Best Education Website by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, was among the 2018 Common Sense Education Best Museum Apps and Websites for Students, and won the 2017 American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Media & Technology Education and Outreach Gold MUSE Award.

Darren teaches museums and digital media as an adjunct lecturer for the Department of Art and Art History at Georgetown University and writes and speaks regularly on topics related to museum outreach and education. Recent publications and talks have been supported by universities and NGOs (Georgetown University, Harvard University, and Tufts University Graduate Schools; and UNESCO), museum conferences and publications (Adobe Digital Government Symposium, American Alliance of Museums, AAM Center for the Future of Museums, Artribune, Museum Computer Network, Museum-Ed, MuseumNext, Museums and the Web, Smithsonian Magazine, and SXSWEdu), and educational organizations (ASCD, CoSN, and ISTE). He has received recognition and awards for his work from Tech & Learning, the American Alliance of Museums, EdTech Digest, Common Sense Education, School Library Journal, eSchool News, and the Webby Awards.

Darren was formerly the producer and art director of the teacher magazine, Smithsonian in Your Classroom, distributed to every elementary and middle school in the United States, and codesigned the exhibition, The World of Your Senses, in collaboration with the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the Exploratorium. Prior to the Smithsonian, Darren worked in corporate marketing for several international software companies, and developed citizen-science programs and online mentoring communities at the Purple Martin Conservation Association in Pennsylvania. He holds bachelor’s degrees in Biology (Ethology and Evolution) and Spanish (Latin American Popular Cultures) from Allegheny College and a master’s degree in Digital Heritage from the University of Leicester. His nonprofit board and volunteer service include Secretary of the Board of Directors for MCN (Museum Computer Network) and as a voting member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

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