Dear Go-Lab teachers,
I am happy to present to you the fourth Go-Lab newsletter under the Next-Lab project!
As a Go-Lab user the first thing you will have noticed is that the new Golabz sharing platform is now launched at www.golabz.eu. There is a new look and feel but also the database behind Golabz has completely been restructured. One of the obvious changes you will notice is that Golabz has become much and much faster. There are now also better search facilities which will be extended in the next few months, for example it will then be possible to see all ILSs created by a teacher by simply clicking on his or her name. What has also been adapted is the metadata forms for publishing new labs and ILSs. We have made these forms better structured and simplified them to make the submission process much smoother.
Sometimes small changes make big differences. On the request of a number of teachers we have now made it possible in the table tool (which is a very popular app) to give a name to the column with the row names. Just fill this name in when configuring the table app in Graasp. Another change to the apps we have made is that now, in the hypothesis and questioning apps, you can configure the minimum and maximum number of questions or hypotheses a student can make. Especially, the minimum number was a request because it may stimulate the students to fill in (at least) that number of hypotheses or questions. You can configure the number of questions or hypotheses by using the slider in the configuration option.
And more, these two apps have undergone a real make-over, also under the hood, but what you can see for example is that removing elements from the hypothesis scratchpad now works much better. If you drag a term to the bin, it doesn’t need to be positioned in the middle anymore and a pop-up shows that the term is ready for deleting. In fact, dragging a concept outside the hypothesis area will show the red bin indicating that a term will be removed from the hypothesis scratchpad. If you have existing ILSs that use these apps you do not need to update them, all ILSs will automatically use the new versions of the apps. In the near future all other apps will be updated to the new technology and sometimes will have additional functionalities to serve you better.
Go-Lab is spreading its wings! In October this year we have had our record month so far on Golabz with more than 14.000 sessions. The Go-Lab ecosystem is now being used world-wide and more and also more initiatives are started. One of those is a project (funded by the Commission and the Ukrainian Ministry of Education) to improve the curricula of six Ukrainian universities. Go-Lab will pay an important role in that. Another approved H2020 project aims to train teachers and to introduce Go-Lab in three African countries (Benin, Kenya, and Nigeria). This project, called GO-GA (Go-Lab goes Africa) will start in 2018. Another project related to Go-Lab is the Ark of Inquiry project. This project, led by Margus Pedaste from Tartu (Estonia), is had its closing conference last week in Paris at the UNESCO headquarters. In this project, material for inquiry learning has been developed often following the inquiry cycle as developed in Go-Lab. This material can be found at the project’s website.
We as a project strive to offer you the best opportunities to improve your skills and knowledge in all aspects of Go-Lab, as we fully understand that Go-Lab can only succeed if you – the Go-Lab teachers – receive all the support and training you need to use and successfully implement your ILS in your classroom. Many of you had already the chance to participate in one of the many Go-Lab trainings happening all over Europe, or are interested in participating in (more) training workshops to learn all about the many possibilities that the Go-Lab Ecosystem can offer to you and your students. Be sure to check with your local Next-Lab partner or Go-Lab Ambassadors to see when and where these trainings are being offered.
In addition to your local events, we are currently planning and organizing a series of international training opportunities with teachers from all over Europe at various locations and dates (Bilbao, Spain - April 2018; Marathon, Greece – July 2018; Tartu, Estonia, early Autumn 2018; Lisbon, Portugal, January 2019). Each of these events will have a focus on a certain theme or target group (e.g. primary teachers, learning assessment tools, co-creation of ILSs, etc.). An invitation with more information on how to apply in any of these courses will soon be published and will certainly inform you about them.
One of the virtues of Go-Lab is that it presents labs from all over the world in one portal. We are grateful to all the organizations and individuals who produced so many nice labs and have given us permissions to incorporate them in our sharing platform (www.golabz.eu). In September we have reached the magical number of 500 labs (now 517) at Golabz.
You can download the newsletter here.
I wish you a very good end of the year with your students and a wonderful December month!
Ton de Jong