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Educator Spotlight: Scott Atkinson

It's Teacher Appreciation Week! So, we're sharing three new posts in our Educator Spotlight series.LabXchange was designed for - and with - educators. Our teacher co-developers and ambassadors help us ensure that LabXchange is easy to use, saves time, and also creates opportunities for both teachers and students. Thank you for everything you do, teachers!Would you like to share your own LabXchange story? Contact us.

About Scott

School: Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School

Classes Taught: Senior Biotechnology (Senior Science Elective)

Scientific Inspirations

My scientific inspirations would be too hard to list or pin down, as I have read so many great books over the years that have provided me with interesting philosophies and information to share with my students. My teaching inspirations began with my first mentor who taught the same on the first day of school as the last: all business. I am also inspired by colleagues willing to stray from their comfort zones and who are not afraid to fail once in a while.

Teaching with LabXchange

LabXchange has been a true savior for me this year. My biotechnology curriculum is predominantly based on, and supported by, the Amgen Biotech Experience program. Due to the pandemic, I was unable to teach what is typically a hands-on laboratory based course. I was able to obtain demo reagents for all of the ABE labs, and perform them live under a document camera placed on a milk crate. Then my students were able to perform the labs virtually on LabXchange. Without this opportunity, I really am unsure what I would have done “in class” this year.

A teacher's desk set up to teach a DNA lab virtually.
Scott's virtual DNA lab setup.

I also used LabXchange to supplement the background material I typically cover, such as the structure of DNA, the central dogma, etc.

Supporting Students

42% of our students come from economically disadvantaged families, so this is the first year all of our students have had access to a computer. As a result, LabXchange is the first online resource I have used. The challenges were many since the Chromebooks our students received were often the first and only computers in the household.As mentioned previously, the ABE cluster was the most valuable resource. However, the ability to monitor student progress during class was also incredibly valuable. Not only for holding students accountable, but also identifying students who were having difficulty logging on or students that were lagging behind the class and probably struggling with the material. Lastly, the ability to edit the pathways was crucial to ensuring that the material was accessible to all of my students.

Vision for Science Education

My number one goal has always been to try and inspire students to learn. I sincerely value the opportunity to introduce students to how science is accomplished rather than focus on an endless parade of vocabulary words and what science has accomplished.

Written by
LabXchange team

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