This is the first Go-Lab newsletter of 2021! Read the news about the Apps, Labs and ILS... Get the latest on the Go-Lab Ecosystem and the upcoming Summer School in Greece!
Dear Go-Lab teachers,
This is the first Go-Lab newsletter of 2021 and unfortunately we still have lockdowns on many places in the world and Corona is still an important part of our private and professional lives. We also luckily see that vaccinations work well and let’s hope that we can return to some kind of normal, also in schools, soon. During the pandemic, Go-Lab usage numbers have risen sharply and they still do and we expect that Go-Lab will get a more steady place in schools also after the pandemic.
The number of published ILSs has been growing steadily and now has reached the impressive number of 1400 ILS published. The demand for online resources in inquiry-based learning to be used by teachers in digital classrooms has increased sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the Inquiry Learning Spaces (ILSs) already available in the Go-Lab ecosystem, new ILSs have been developed within the frame of the inSTEAM project.
These new ILSs evolve around major environmental issues in Mediterranean countries (Climate Change, Water Management, and Renewable Energy) and are organized on the basis of three approaches, suggesting different impact orientation: (1) socioeconomic;(2) open schooling, and (3) cultural.
The socioeconomic impact dimension employs an adapted SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis template, to study the socioeconomic implications of selected topics. The adapted SWOT template is applied as a “social laboratory” to organize stakeholder positions, gathered by means of desk research, interviews, questionnaires, or webquests.
The open schooling approach brings schools closer to their local society and gives more meaning and motivation to students by giving them the opportunity to work on projects related to the real needs of their community.
The cultural approach helps develop student understandings about the use value of scientific knowledge as well as the process of its production. This approach delves deep in local cultures to illustrate the how different worldviews may influence the uptake and application of scientific knowledge. The new collection of ILSs follows the Universal Design Learning (UDL) principles for inclusive education.
As was announced in the previous newsletter new apps have been developed to improve the data input and analysis for students. These apps are now online and for usage in your ILSs.
A new app called the Data entry tool can be used by students to include data in a spreadsheet like way. The options for dealing with data has been much extended as compared to the former Table tool. The former Table tool is still available and can be used for those occasions where students have to fill in textual information in a table, without the need to process data later. The Data viewer app has been replaced by a new Data viewer app that has many more (and nicer) options for visualizing data. This Data viewer app can read data from the data entry app and from the Experiment Design Tool (EDT). The old Data viewer keeps functioning, but data are transferred to the new data viewer. You can experience the new Data entry and Data viewer apps in this test ILS.
A fully new app that now has been published is the Noteboard app. In this app, students can publish notes that they can use individually, share with their whole class or share within their ILS collaboration group. Students can also comment on each other’s notes. As a teacher you can set the number of boards within the app and the level at which students can edit each other’s notes; you can also choose from different coloring schemes.
These new apps also need additional or new translations. We have also, under hood, improved the structure of a number of Learning Analytic apps. As a result of these improvements new terms have been added. If you are translator of an app, pls check your language in the Go-Lab app composer and, if you have time, we would very much appreciate it if you would complete the now open translations.
All new apps will be premium apps. For the time of the Corona pandemic they will be available for free. If you use a premium app now, it will keep functioning also when it later will only be accessible as a premium app.
The set of labs designed by Sitsanlis Ilias covers an extensive set of physics topics and is now for a large part added to Golabz. These labs are now available in Greek and English but can be translated into other languages. Pls let us know if you like to translate one of these labs.
Currently we are making an inventory of labs that were created in Flash, which as announced by Adobe long time ago, do not function anymore. Examples of these labs in Golabz are the NAAP labs and the Xplore health labs. These labs will be removed from the collection soon. This also means that ILSs that use these labs will not fully function anymore.
Also labs that are based on Shindig will stop functioning soon. See under Ecosystem news.
Among our labs, PhET labs are very popular. Quite a number of PhET labs offer different variants of the same lab and at the opening screen students have to choose one. If you like to direct student directly to one of the variants, there is a simple trick. Instead of adding the lab through the drop down menu “Labs from Golabz”, add the lab by using “Add link” and include the URL of the lab from the PhET website.
Now, after the URL insert “?Screens=” and conclude with the number of the screen you like to show to your students. For example: https://phet.colorado.edu/sims/html/beers-law-lab/latest/beers-law-lab_en.html?screens=2. More details can be found in this video tutorial.
The shindig open social container supporting some older apps and labs is not supported anymore by Apache since 2015 and the associated services will finally be decommissioned in the Go-Lab ecosystem. This means that all remaining shindig-based apps and labs, as well as published ILSs with such resources, will be removed from Golabz.eu. They will also not run anymore in Graasp.eu. To enable a smooth transition, we have already replaced all Go-Lab apps in Golabz.eu by shindig-free versions. As we cannot edit your personal ILSs, we recommend all teachers having published ILSs with legacy labs and apps to remove them or replace them with updated versions. Teachers have 1 month (until April 12, 2021) to make this change before the shindig support is disable. In most cases, a former shindig-based lab can be replaced by its direct link. Shindig-based apps and labs can be recognized in Graasp, when selected, by their URL starting with https://shindig2.epfl.ch/gadget/... (visible at the bottom of the blue configuration window in authoring mode). Simply copying your ILS will also update the apps to the new format.
If you or colleagues of you are interested to learn more about Go-Lab, its apps and approaches, we are happy to inform you that this year again our cherished Go-Lab Summer School will be offered. In early July (4-9 July 2021) you are very much welcome to this intensive summer school in Greece. This annual event has proven to be a great opportunity to learn all about all aspects of the Go-Lab Ecosystem. In the summer school, you can work together with colleagues from all over Europe and meet team members behind Go-Lab. You will learn about inquiry learning, how to build ILSs and find the appropriate labs, exchange ideas and realize exciting scenarios on how to use ILSs in your classroom. To learn more about the summer school read here.
Participation in the summer school can be sponsored through the Erasmus+ KA1 programme. Registration is already open: Register now to reserve your spot at the Go-Lab Summer School 2021.
Hopefully by July 2021 the situation of the pandemic will allow offering this course safely as an onsite event. However, should the pandemic force a change in plans, you will be informed as soon as possible.
Diana Dikke, Denis Gillet, and Ton de Jong
Go-Lab coordinating team