In June, we gathered essential insights from both teachers and students on our first in-class pilot: the Amgen Biotech Experience Laboratory Pathway 1: Micropipetting and Gel Electrophoresis. The pilot informed our design process for other LabXchange pathways, surfaced unforeseen technical challenges, and underscored the importance of building onboarding resources for users as new functionalities become available.
So what exactly is a pathway? LabXchange users will be able to build personal learning journeys using resources from the platform’s robust library, their own content, or a mixture of both. Stringing these resources together creates a “pathway.” To demonstrate the pathway features, our platform will launch with several customized life science pathways ready for users to explore.
Participating teachers from local ABE Massachusetts schools administered the pilot pathway to one or more of their classes in grades 9-12. All of the teachers are trained in ABE, and all of the students had already completed the hands-on micropipetting and gel electrophoresis lab in their classrooms. After exploring the pathway, teachers were asked to comment on various aspects of implementing the pathway within their classrooms, while students were asked to reflect on the pathway’s individual resources and the experience as a whole.
With over 214 responses to the pilot, there was a lot of data to interpret. While technical glitches impacted the experience for some users, the majority said that they would use a pathway to learn a new topic or study a familiar one, and that they found the pathway to be both relevant and interesting.
“I found the interactives the most helpful. I liked doing the scroll presentation, I’ve never seen anything taught like that before. It was an interesting concept.”
We have been exploring ways of demonstrating the scientific process online, and our custom-designed interactives and simulations were among the most popular features of the pilot. These tools allow learners to connect with the hands-on experience of science outside of a lab. So whether or not a classroom is equipped with the latest lab equipment, all students will have the opportunity to engage, learn, and play with tools that replicate the real thing.
“This is a great way to incorporate technology into the classroom. It adds a spin on labs. The students are not sitting at a lab table with other individuals they may or may not know or get along with; instead they are using the advantage of technology and can become better equipped with the labs. The labs of LabXchange can be done much quicker than an average real-world lab.”
Creating a space where students were able to participate in an authentic scientific process without the consequences of their mistakes was valuable. The average time to complete the pathway was between 30 minutes to 1 hour. Hence, many users commented on how helpful this experience could be for studying a topic prior to a test, or in preparation for an in-class lab experience.
The feedback from the pilot upholds LabXchange’s mission: supporting a hybrid experience of learning in which technology and the traditional classroom can come together and accommodate all learners. New pathways and online experiences for learners of all levels are being developed and will be announced in the coming months.
Are you interested in testing out future LabXchange developments? Connect with us now!