This is the second Go-Lab newsletter of 2021! Learn about the upates in Graasp, Apps, Labs, and ILSs... And celebrate together with us Go-Lab joining a global UNESCO project!
Dear Go-Lab teachers,
This is the second Go-Lab newsletter, released just before the summer break that in many parts of the world starts. In many places students gradually return to school but in many other places the pandemic is still very present. In all cases, remote education is still very much in place and will be continued. We are happy that Go-Lab can play a role in this.
In this newsletter we will update you on recent developments.
We are now reaching the number of 1500 ILS published on Golabz which is another milestone touched. Also, the usage of Go-Lab is still increasing, the month of March 2021 was Go-Lab’s record month so far with 51,465 sessions on Golabz that month (compared to close to 17,000 in March 2019, pre-pandemic).
A few nice new apps were developed that you can now find at Golabz.
The first one is the Fill in the blanks app. We noticed that often teachers used the Name the Frame app to create a text with blanks in it and let students drag terms to the blanks in the text. Form an interface point of view this was not very nice and we have now create the new Fill in the Blanks for creating texts with blanks. This app allows the teacher to construct sentences containing blank spaces in place of words or phrases. The students can then drag the terms and drop them in the correct blanks. The students also have the option to validate their answers. As a teacher to construct this for students, simply type your text in the app, use a strike through symbol to indicate text that should appear as blanks for the students, add additional distractors as you wish and the rest of the work is done by the app.
Give it a try here.
The second one is the Dashboard app. This app gives an overview of what the students have done in specific apps in the ILS. The apps displayed by this Dashboard app are the Quiz app and the Observation tool. For the Quiz app, the Dashboard app shows, for example, the answers given by students to open questions, numbers and names of students who have chosen a specific alternative in a multiple-choice question, etc. For the observation tool it shows all observations given by all of the students together with the names of the students and a word cloud over all the observations given. More apps will be added later. The Dashboard app is meant for teachers and will normally be placed in the Teacher dashboard space in your ILS in Graasp.
Pls try out this app here.
The SpeakUp discussion app is currently re-implemented from scratch and will be replaced soon. Check speakup.info for updates. In the meantime, and as backward compatibility and data transfer will not be implemented, use the export option to save the data of any of your current discussion room. To let students communicate in an ILS also the Chat app can be used.
When you configure an ILS in Graasp, you may sometime notice that you have too little horizontal space to nicely see the app. Therefore, you can now click on an ‘extension button’ in each app (two opposite pointing arrows). Clicking this button will increase the horizontal space, and, of course, you can easily return to the original width.
We have made a change to the Noteboard app. Now the height of the note is not fixed anymore, but dynamic. The height adapts to the available space in the ILS.
Coming soon, we are developing a fully new version of the quiz app, with a more intuitive configuration interface and more options than currently available.
There are 17 new PhET labs added on Golabz. These include for example, Energy Skate Park (there was already an Energy Skate Park basics), Gases intro, Diffusion, Build a molecule, and Collision lab.
We have also removed labs, namely those based on the Flash technology, from the Golabz collection. Notable collections of these labs are the 21 labs from the NAAP (Nebraska university, astronomy). NAAP is working on HTML5 alternatives, when these were there, we have them included at Golabz. NAAP, also gives indications how to run their Flash labs on local machines. Another set of (8) labs are the labs from Xplore Health. These labs were transferred to HTML5 but only in Spanish; we are currently contacting the host organization for these labs to see if we can publish the Spanish labs as an alternative.
We haven’t removed ILSs that have a Flash lab from Golabz because the content could still be interesting to be copied and often an alternative lab can be found that can be used when copying and adapting the ILS.
UT has published a new lab on quantum physics, namely the photoelectric effect. A similar lab is available in the PhET collection as a Java lab. The UT lab is HTML5, has a few more features and is also collaborative. It was developed in the context of a Dutch NSF project on quantum physics; more labs from the project will be published on Golabz soon.
As previously announced, the legacy shindig infrastructure has been decommissioned and the related published apps, labs and ILSs have been updated when possible.
EPFL is working on a brand new and simpler version of Graasp that should be ready for preview in September. Check graasp.org for updates.
The Go-Lab team has recently published an (open access) overview paper on Go-Lab in the journal Educational Technology Research and Development.
You can find this paper here.
Go-Lab will be joining the UNESCO “Teacher Capacity Building with AI and Digital Technologies: Elibrary for Teachers” project of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE). The main goal of this project is to support teachers and teaching with open educational resources and free public tools as well as online and onsite trainings. The main target areas are Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, CIS countries and the Middle East. For the moment, this means that the Go-Lab ecosystem is advertised through the UNESCO channels and in this way gets the attention of up to 100,000 of educators in the target countries.
We wish you a very good summer with hopefully less pandemic influence after the break.
Diana Dikke, Denis Gillet, and Ton de Jong
Go-Lab coordinating team