Read all about Go-Lab's latest news and updates includingthe Go-Lab premium membership, the added Labs and ILSs, and the new features in Apps.
Dear Go-Lab teachers
We are now at the start of October 2020 and the school year is on its way for some time. Circumstances are still very difficult at most places, with many restrictions still in place. As a Go-Lab team we all hope you are still doing fine and that Go-Lab helps a bit in providing your students with high quality teaching even in this Corona period. The use of Go-Lab still shows double figures compared to pre-Corona times, so obviously Go-Lab is seen as a worthwhile resource. In the meanwhile, we also have some Go-Lab news to share with you.
The online labs on Golabz come from many different lab providers. The Go-Lab team makes constant checks to see if labs are still working and contacts lab owners if necessary. Labs that are not functioning are often mainly remote labs, these are obviously the most difficult labs to keep in the air. If a lab is (temporarily) not available, the preview button at Golabz is grayed out. We also had to remove a few virtual labs because they were not functioning anymore. Most prominently, Galaxy Crash and Drosophila had to be unpublished. These labs were used in a number of ILSs and also these ILSs thus need to be updated. By the end of the year, we will also loose quite some labs because then Flash is no longer supported by browsers. On the positive side, we are close to incorporating a few new collections on Golabz, more news on that later.
The number of published ILSs keeps growing and it grows fast. At the beginning of 2020, there were 1135 spaces published at the moment the counter says 1278 ILSs are published. So, there are many ILSs that you can use as inspiration or as starting point for creating your own ILS. If you visit the ILS page at Golabz, the ILSs are sorted with the most recent published ILSs on top. Of course, you can also search for ILSs in different ways, for example by showing the Example ILSs first.
New version of the shared Wiki app
There is a new version of the shared wiki app. In this new version only one student can edit the content at any time and the others can see the editing in real-time. This removes the need of merging the different texts entered by students at the same time. As default, the whole class is working on the same content, but if the Collaboration tool is present, the students can also work in teacher-defined groups on a text. If learning analytics is enabled, the whole history of content can be seen by the teachers and the students. The new shared wiki is also supported by the overview and viewer apps. This new version of the Wiki app will become a premium app (see later); a free but limited version will also become available.
Automated feedback in the concept mapper
The concept mapper has a new feature that provides real-time feedback to students while they are creating their concept maps. To use this feature, all you need to do is to click on “Enable automatic feedback” in the configuration in Graasp, choose an avatar, and then provide an expert concept map. The feedback students get will be based on the expert map. To design it, use the concept mapper in the authoring mode. After these steps are done, the students will then see an avatar popping up at the bottom right corner, which can help them make the correct choices while designing their concept maps.
New table tool and data viewer
Currently we are working to have brand new versions of the Table tool and the Data viewer apps. Both are significant improvements over the existing apps. The Table tool is often used to have students record data from experiments that they have conducted. The functionality of the current Table tool was still limited, in the new Table tool students will be able, to include different types of data (strings, numerical values etc.), students can add rows and columns themselves (if configured as such by the teacher in Graasp), and also sort the data. As in the current Table tool, rows and columns can still be preconfigured to make it easy for the students. One of the main changes in the Data viewer is that as a teacher you now can configure from which source in the ILSs (phase and app) the data will be used. This can be from a Table or from the Experiment Design Tool. We are working to enable the inclusion of data from a lab (e.g., PhET labs) directly. The possibilities to visualise data will be much more extensive. These new tools will be part of the Go-Lab premium membership, see next item.
Go-Lab premium membership
As you know Go-Lab as it currently stands has many functionalities. We do have a number of new projects that support new developments, but as the Go-Lab initiative we also need to generate resources for maintenance of the basic Go- Lab ecosystem. For this we have launched the Premium membership facility. Schools or other organizations can acquire a premium membership which includes a hotline for support, full access to premium apps (for now the App Overview, Quiz Overview, and Video Player app, and in the near future the new Table tool and Data Viewer), participation in a series of free webinars, discount on teacher training and ambassador training and full access to all Graasp features. Pricing is based on the number of teacher/student users of the organization involved. To take potential misunderstandings away, Go-Lab will not go commercial, we will use all income from the Premium membership for the general maintenance of the ecosystem. If you know of an organization that may be interested in a premium membership, please let us know.
We hope that the coming period will give some relief and wish you all the best in giving your students the best you have!
Diana Dikke, Denis Gillet, and Ton de Jong
Go-Lab coordinating team