Dear Go-Lab teachers,
The end of the year is approaching and it is time for a well-deserved break. It is also the time to look back to the past year and also look forward to the coming year.
In the past year, the Go-Lab ecosystem has gained a lot in popularity. Monthly visits to www.golabz.eu raised to an all-time record of over 18.000 visits per month, the number of published ILSs passed the 900, and we also added a large number of new labs. These developments are seen world-wide, with an uptake in many new countries. We are very happy with your support in realizing these successes! Of course, we hope to see Go-Lab being used even more in the new year and we have a few new developments to announce that we hope will make Go-Lab even more attractive.
First, the team has been working hard to make fundamental changes to the underlying technology, so as to make Go-Lab even more stable and fast and prepared for the future. This was a Herculean task which is now almost finished and will also result in a new interface for the ILS. We hope you will like this new look and feel which now allows to use the full screen width for your ILS plus some other interesting new features. As you will notice soon, the tabs for phases in the ILS for students now have moved from the top to a side bar. The new design is also there to prepare for a Go-Lab version that is ready to be used on mobile phones. Work on that is continuing, I’ll keep you posted on the developments but for now you can get a sneak preview (still under development) by clicking the “page view” button at the sharing tab in Graasp.
We also worked on a number of apps. One app that has changed is the Quiz tool. The new quiz tool has 6 question types (that is 3 more than the old one): open answer, yes/no question, multiple choice, multiple select, slider, tabular and it also has a better overall design. The new quiz is backwards compatible with the old one. In other words, in an old ILS, if you remove the old quiz tool and place the new quiz tool instead, the new tool is fully capable of converting the data from the old configuration and resources to the new one and thus keeps on working. Another app that we changed is the calculator. We have made a simple and an advanced version so that you can include the calculator that is appropriate for your students in the ILS. A scientific version of the calculator is in the making.
Also in Golabz you will see some recent improvements. The search function has extended and you can now search for labs, apps, and ILSs separately. A rating system has been included so that you can leave your appreciation for apps, labs, and ILSs. Upcoming, search by user, a comment function, and an updated support area.
In the coming year we will add a (large) series of new labs but we will also have to weed a bit in the existing labs. We do not include any Java labs anymore and we will need to use the same procedure for Flash labs. Luckily quite some providers are working in migrating Flash labs to HTML5. Another issue with labs is that a number of them do not use the https protocol. For security reasons, this protocol is now being preferred and Go-Lab will adopt this as well (and then also the message “not secure” in the title bar of your browser will disappear). Our target date for this is March 2019 and we will work with lab providers who haven’t have their labs following the https protocol as yet.
In 2019, we will organize a large series of schools and workshops for different target groups. Contact your national Go-Lab representative to find out where and when. In early July 2019, the project is offering two intensive summer schools in Greece. We consider these international events as a great opportunity to work together with you, and we are enjoying the direct feedback and ideas we get from teachers that are using Go-Lab in their everyday teaching. Participation in these activities can be sponsored through the Erasmus+ KA1 programme. We are happy to support you in this and you can find more information about the course and how to apply for Erasmus+ funding on the summer school website. Registration to both courses is already open: Register now to reserve your spot at the Go-Lab Summer Schools 2019!
Finally, Go-Lab is there to stay! We have already a number of successes to report including a new project starting in January 2019 on the development of labs for learning about quantum physics. More news to follow in the new year.
I wish you a very good Christmas break, best regards and lots of Go-Lab fun in 2019!
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Ton de Jong