In this special Go-Lab Newsletter, you will learn all about the updates and changes to the Go-Lab ecosystem to better support distance learning.
Welcome to this special newsletter. These are confusing times and we sincerely hope that you and your beloved ones are safe and doing well. Also, for our education things have dramatically changed with (almost) all education now taking place online. We are glad that Go-Lab can play a role in this. We see the usage of the ecosystem steeply increasing over the past few weeks and we thank you for your trust in Go-Lab.
To cope with that increased usage we have taken some important measures. First, the storage capacity of Graasp has been increased, but we kindly but also very urgently ask you not to use Graasp as an alternative to Dropbox (maybe instead you could use this opportunity to clean your personal Graasp space from old files that you do not use anymore) and to store videos rather on YouTube. Second, the “Suggestions” option has been removed from Graasp to increase its performance and to provide more privacy. For the same reasons, Graasp is now only searching content in the spaces where you are a member. Last, the technical team has worked on the backend of the system, removing or converting apps that used an older technology, which also has a few consequences for you as a user:
The following apps (that were not used very often) have now disappeared:
- Submitted Files In ILS
- Automatic Generator of User Interfaces for Smart Labs
The following apps have been converted to a new technology:
- Padlet app
- Teacher Feedback
- Progress Bar
- File Drop
For the first two apps this has come with new functionality. For the Padlet app, it loads faster, and the Padlet wall URL entered by the student is also stored. Also, as a teacher you can now specify a Padlet wall in the Graasp configuration that will be used by all students. (We are also working on a new Go-Lab app that can replace Padlet and will offer even more advanced functionality). The Teacher feedback app now offers a new interface and allows you to go directly to the phase in the ILS of a student you like to give feedback to. This makes the feedback process much more direct and speedier.
The next apps are still on the list to be converted, which is expected to be done by April 8:
- Shared Wiki
- Periodic Table
- Function Plotter
- Sysquake (with many thanks to Calerga that has accepted to give a perpetual license to its new version for free use in Graasp).
What is also new is a ZOOM app that allows you to make lectures with a live stream.
For the moment we have a distinction between “Select app from Golabz” and “Select app from Graasp” so you have to look where your preferred app resides, but we are working in this too.
You do not need to worry about the functioning of older ILSs, they will still function and old apps are automatically replaced by the new ones when an ILS is copied.
If you now create a new ILS, there will be no About and Vault spaces anymore The About phase was seldomly used and the Vault space was needed in the older technology we used. For older ILSs or ILSs still using older technology, the Vault will still function.
Finally, in addition to the free online labs available in Golabz, we now offer premium online labs for upper secondary schools and high schools free of charge. Thanks to our cooperation partner LabsLand, these labs will be available for free to the schools affected by COVID-19 (at least) till summer 2020. Please follow this link to access the collection of premium remote labs. Using these labs, your students will be able to access real laboratory equipment remotely via a web interface, operate real robots, conduct experiments on radioactivity, kinematics, and many other subjects.
With these updates, we hope to support you in providing your students with quality online education and we wish you good health and all the best in accomplishing this task in these difficult times!
Diana Dikke, Denis Gillet, and Ton de Jong
Go-Lab coordinating team