Educator Spotlight: Debora O’Reilly and Mary Liu

At LabXchange, educators are at the heart of what we do. Nothing makes us more excited than hearing from teachers who use LabXchange in their classrooms! This month, we spoke with Mary Liu and Debora O’Reilly, two Massachusetts teachers who have been piloting LabXchange with their students since beta testing began. If you are using LabXchange with your class and want to be featured in an upcoming spotlight, please let us know!

Debora O’Reilly, Biotechnology Teacher, Essex Agricultural and Technical High School

My program is a 3.5-year program. Students come into the school and go through an exploratory program until January of their freshman year. After that, they meet every other week for a full school day. So far, LabXchange has been a great tool in my toolbox for differentiating instruction.

When freshmen come into the program, I review micropipetting using the Micropipetting Simulation. This allows students to review the process of pipetting prior to the lab and the lab practical. Next, I am looking forward to introducing my freshman students to the Scientific Method Pathway and Tools and Techniques in Biotechnology: Gel Electrophoresis. With my seniors, at the beginning of the school year, I do a restriction digest review. This fall, I asked them to work through the LabXchange Restriction Enzyme Digest Simulation. I had students fill out a brief survey asking if they found the simulation helpful, and whether they would like to see more of these resources used. Their response was an overwhelming YES.

Deb O'Reilly, in a white and blue shirt, stands in front of participants at NABT 2019.

Deb O’Reilly shares her experiences using LabXchange at NABT 2019.

In my next cycle with my seniors, we are going to examine mtDNA. Students will isolate their own DNA from their cheek cells, use PCR to amplify their DNA, and then perform a DNA library prep to run their samples on the Illumina iSeq Nextgen sequencer. The lessons leading up to this lab will include LabXchange content. I plan to create a short, customized pathway to guide my students through the process of exploring personalized medicine. LabXchange allows me to assign great content from a variety of sources, all in one place. I am very

Mary Liu visits the LabXchange booth at NABT 2019.

excited about having this tool in my hands to help my students.

Mary Liu, Science Teacher, Weston High School

I’m using LabXchange in my classroom to help students learn new skills at their own pace. In the classroom, I give them hands-on experience with tools like micropipettes and gel electrophoresis, but in order to take advantage of the precious little time we have in class, I have them learn more about these tools on LabXchange as well. This enables my students at all levels – both AP and College Prep (CP) – to feel better prepared and have a reliable resource to return to if they need to review concepts or learn more about how the tools work.

LabXchange gives my students options for how to learn about the material. In my CP elective Biotech class, it can be challenging to find material online to offer students additional support. With LabXchange, there are a variety of resources, text, videos, and interactives that are designed for learners who are being introduced to a technique for the first time. This allows me to differentiate for my students, and meet them where they are.  It also saves me time in having to create these materials from scratch. I can remix, draw their attention to particular parts, and deliver the content to students all in one place.

To access any of the resources mentioned in this spotlight, use the preview code “fallpreview.” You will then be able to register for a free LabXchange account, explore the platform, and discover new resources that you can use in your own educational setting.

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