Educational Uses

The Digital Public Library of America received three grants from the Whiting Foundation and the Teagle Foundation to explore educational possibilities for its growing collection.

Investigating Education Uses

The first grant, “Investigating Education Uses,” allowed DPLA to convene in-person meetings for educators from a wide variety of institutions, including K-12 schools, community colleges, small liberal arts colleges, and research universities, in the fall of 2014 in Boston. The purpose of these meetings was to define what DPLA and other large­-scale digital collections can do to better adapt their resources to address educational needs at the secondary and college level. In addition, DPLA staff spoke virtually with other instructors and providers of online content as part of this learning process. From these conversations, Franky Abbott and Dan Cohen published a research paper that outlines a DPLA educational strategy. This report will hopefully prove useful to other online collections looking to make their materials more useful in the classroom. From this research, DPLA moved forward with a comprehensive educational plan. This project was supported by the Whiting Foundation.

Putting Digital Collections to Work in Education Through Community Curation

The second grant, “Putting Digital Collections to Work in Education Through Community Curation,” enabled DPLA to put its educational planning into practice.  Through this project, DPLA staff and an Education Advisory Committee of teachers in grades 6-14 created and reviewed primary source sets curated using content accessible through DPLA. Students are the primary audience for these sets although they also include resources for teacher guidance. The results of this process, sets and tools for set creation, were made available on DPLA’s website during the 2015-2016 school year, as DPLA launched an outreach campaign to recruit new sets and education users. This project was supported by the Whiting Foundation.

Improving Education through Digital Collections: Building a Network of Engaged Educators

The third grant, “Improving Education through Digital Collections: Building a Network of Engaged Educators,” supports the continued development of the Primary Source Sets and the Education Advisory Committee in 2017-2018, as well as new work with professional development for educators. As part of this project, members of the Education Advisory Committee met to draft a curriculum for educator workshops about teaching critical thinking and research skills using DPLA and its educational resources. Members of the committee then used this curriculum to deliver fifteen workshops to a variety of educator audiences over the course of two years. This curriculum pilot allowed DPLA to iterate its outreach approach and materials and refine its resources. This project was supported by the Teagle Foundation.

For more information about these projects, please contact


About the Whiting Foundation

The Whiting Foundation ( has supported scholars and writers for more than forty years. These grants are part of the Foundation’s efforts to infuse the humanities into American public culture.


About the Teagle Foundation

The Teagle Foundation ( works to support and strengthen liberal arts education, which is fundamental to meaningful work, effective citizenship, and a fulfilling life. This grant is part of Teagle’s Hybrid Learning initiative to advance the liberal arts in higher education.