Lab4U Talks. Episode 2: Building communities of practice while implementing Lab4U

In the previous episode, Komal spoke with Nathan about the achievement gap, and his experience as a teacher in the US and in Mexico. In this second episode we talk about how we could solve the problems in science education building a better future.

At Lab4U we are moving the needle to make sure students have access to quality science education. 

To make education accessible to everyone, Lab4U partnered with the US Embassy and CEMEX to launch a scholarship program for science teachers in Mexico, empowering them with tools to change the way they teach science remotely. 

Listen to this episode and learn how Nathan built a community of practice with science teachers making a difference in the lives of thousands of students during a pandemic. 

Episode Outline:

  • min. 01:30: Introductions
  • min. 03:00: How is Lab4U working with schools around the world
  • min. 05:30: Partnering with the US Embassy and CEMEX to empower the future of the workforce
  • min. 07:15: Lab4U scholarship program 
  • min. 08:40: Training and Professional Development 
  • min. 14:10: Communities of practice
  • min. 21:00: Building a better future and scaling a high impact program
  • min. 22:05: Learnings from this program and closing remarks

Technology is a means to an end, and not the object.

At Lab4U we believe in the power of technology to build a better future, but technology is a means to an end, and not the object. In Ed-tech, between technology and education, education comes first where pedagogy and instructional design play a key role in the way we change the paradigm of science education. 

Joining forces to empower the future of the workforce with CEMEX and the US Embassy

With the support of the US Embassy and CEMEX, Lab4U launched a program that sponsored a group of committed teachers from different states of Mexico. 

During the pandemic, a large number of teachers had to re-imagine the way they teach, communicate with their students and live their lives. If teachers were overburdened before, during a pandemic with remote teaching and distance learning, teaching science or any other subject, just got more demanding. 

To support the teacher community in Mexico, two sponsors in collaboration with Lab4U, decided to help a group of teachers, empowering them with tools so that they can teach science in an engaging way with technology and with a proper instructional design using inquiry-based learning. 

Lab4U Webinars

Lab4U provided different professional development sessions through webinars and Lab4Physics for their students.

With Lab4Physics students transform their smartphones into complete science labs, not just virtual labs through simulations, but remote science labs using the built-in sensors of smartphones and tablets. 

In this episode, Nathan Marks shares some inspiring anecdotes about teachers from different backgrounds and states of Mexico (some even from rural Mexico) who are currently teaching inquiry-based science to students through smartphone technology. 

App Lab4Physics

We know that many classes have gone online or hybrid, where technology plays a crucial role, however we understand that technology is not the silver bullet, because one can have a traditional theoretical class through Zoom or Meet or Google Classroom with the same powerpoint without the proper instructional design for an online lesson and expect a lot.

Nevertheless, at Lab4U we believe that pedagogy plays an important role in the learning process, be it in person, online or hybrid. 

At Lab4U we are supporting teachers to perform inquiry-based activities with their students as learning is much more significant, long lasting and meaningful when students have the chance to learn by doing. Nathan shares how even students from rural Mexico were able to experiment hands-on and take charge of their own learning. 

Nathan explains how the latter is achieved by hands-on experiments with a guided approach using inquiry-based learning, where we focus on the pedagogy as opposed to the traditional class. With this approach students lose their fear of making mistakes and that’s what experimentation is all about! At Lab4U we know there is pedagogical importance in uncertainty and error

In STEM areas there is generally a fear of these subjects being difficult, boring, and not for everybody and this is based on the traditional model that prevails in many schools, where students experience science as “second hand” where we learn about science, the work that others did but they are not actually engaging in the scientific process themselves.

Building communities of practice

However, Nathan explains that despite the challenges of distance learning and not having a physical lab space, getting students the access to a smartphone that is now a lab has been useful in shifting mindset and changing paradigms, having students taking the initiative to work beyond Lab4U’s lab report and participating in science clubs. 

The second insight Nathan shared was around building communities of practice between teachers, where they shared their experiences and learnings between peers. Here Lab4U is fostering and moderating these spaces. 

Nathan shared an anecdote of one of our experiments: Moonwalk 

Picture Description: Students sharing their experience using Lab4Physics during the pandemic. All photographs are shared with parents permits through the teachers.

In conclusion, Nathan shares the importance of pedagogy and communities of practice, and by the end of this episode, we share the impact that Lab4U’s implementations have in communities that need it the most.

Check out Lab4U’s impact in its longitudinal study, a Randomized Controlled Trial published by the Inter-American Bank where the reports shows that students increase their interest to pursue a STEM related career

“What is this for?” publication iadb.org

Highlights of this episode: 

  1. Importance of inquiry-based learning during a pandemic 
  2. Building communities of practice with empowered teachers
  3. Inspiring students to love science and overcome their fear of making mistakes. 

We know STEM jobs are in demand and we need today’s youth to be tomorrow’s changemakers to solve humanity’s biggest challenges. We expect our work to transcend, supporting teachers and students to build a better future. 

We want to thank all teachers, students, parents, and sponsors like the US Embassy and CEMEX for being part of this mission. 

To learn more about Lab4U. You can listen Lab4U Talks wherever you listen to your podcasts: Spotify, Google Podcast, Apple Podcast  or you could listen to Lab4U’s YouTube Playlist

Visit us at: www.lab4u.co. You can also write to us at: [email protected] 

This episode was recorded in our homes working remotely.

Audio Production: Jose Ferrada, Lab4U. Distribution: Más Más

Music Credits: Cool Intro – Stings by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Episode 1: Democratizing science education and reducing the achievement gap

How can we bring opportunity to every student, everywhere? It may not be easy, but it’s worth it.

In Episode 1 of the English edition of Lab4U Talks, we will be talking about equity in education and how education technology can be an equalizer to reduce the achievement gap.

This topic is close to our heart because at Lab4U we believe that talent is universal but opportunities are not, and through our work we want to be a part of bringing high-quality science education to all young people.

Your host for Lab4U Talks is Komal Dadlani, joined by Nathan Marks for this conversation. We’re not only colleagues at Lab4U, but Nathan is also a great teacher and human being who cares deeply about this topic and has dedicated his entire professional career to ensuring all children have access to a quality education.

In this conversation, we’ll discuss the unique contexts in which we work–the US & Mexico. We’ll also explore the opportunities–and some of the pitfalls–of education technology, and how we’re thinking about the best way to ensure that technological innovation can be integrated in the classroom, without losing sight of the importance of high-quality pedagogy and teacher support and training.

Episode Outline:

  • min. 2:43:  Introductions
  • min. 4:15:  Nathan explains his passion for education and past experiences as an educator
  • min. 6:20: Growing awareness of social and educational inequity
  • min. 8:55: Going deeper: how do we confront inequity in education?

Equity / Inequality in Education, vision from USA, Mexico and LatAm. 

In this interesting “point-counterpoint” from Nathan’s home state of Minnesota. The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul (and the state of Minnesota in which both are located) are often referenced as places that mix affordability, inclusion, and opportunity better than almost any other major metro area in the US.

Yet this is also a place that hides a significant achievement gap between white and minority students. Read more: Miracle of Minneapolis vs. Minneapolis’ White Lie

  • min. 10:54: Comparing the achievement gap in the US to the achievement gap in LatAm.

In contribution to that explanation:

The achievement gap in education racial segregation versus segregation by poverty

  • min. 12.10: Komal talks about these problems and Lab4U’s mission: democratizing access to quality education.
  • min. 12:55: The roots of inequality in education in the US

Some awareness and quotes:

  • min. 13:30: Nathan talks about the problem from school segregation and racial academic gaps that continue to affect students in the US today, decades after Brown vs. Board of Education.

Publications:

Is Separate Still Unequal? New Evidence on School Segregation and Racial Academic Achievement Gaps (by: Sean Reardon)

“In a 8 year study of data from all public school districts in the U.S. We find that racial school segregation is strongly associated with the magnitude of achievement gaps in 3rd grade, and with the rate at which gaps grow from third to eighth grade. The association of racial segregation with achievement gaps is completely accounted for by racial differences in school poverty: racial segregation appears to be harmful because it concentrates minority students in high-poverty schools, which are, on average, less effective than lower-poverty schools. Finally, we conduct exploratory analyses to examine potential mechanisms through which differential enrollment in high-poverty schools leads to inequality. We find that the effects of school poverty do not appear to be explained by differences in the set of measurable teacher or school characteristics available to us.”

Achievement gap between The rich and the poor, New evidence and possible explanations

Whither Opportunity?: Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children’s Life Chances. The Widening Academic Achievement Gap between the Rich and the Poor: New Evidence and Possible Explanations, Sean F. Reardon (Stanford)

Covid-19 and how this has affected schools, teachers and students.

  • min. 15:27: Education during a pandemic, remote learning and the importance of technology in a “global emergency mode”
  • min. 16:54: Education technology in times of COVID-19

1.5 B students have been affected with school closures during COVID19 according to UNESCO

Brookings (brookings.edu), estimating the impact of COVID-19 school closures on student outcomes: The impact of Covid-19 on student achievement and what it may mean for educator 

  • min. 18:30: Important distinctions in times of COVID-19
  • Difference between asynchronous and synchronous online teaching 
  • Difference between homeschooling and “home-staying remote-schooling
  • Importance of instructional design for online lessons

This crisis has changed the way we do many things, but it may provide new opportunities

  • min. 21:55: We need to invest in infrastructure and teacher training and support:
  • Educational options
  • Wifi and Universal internet access
  • Support teacher in fast changing environment 

Without a doubt, we must invest in technology, but for Lab4U, technology is not the most relevant. We must also consider infrastructure, pedagogy and educational methodologies and teacher support.  

We look forward to talking about more related topics in an upcoming episode.

Thank you for listening! Also you can listen Lab4U Talks:

Lab4U’s YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/3gn3KaE  

Visit us at: www.lab4u.co or you can also write to us at: [email protected].

Here in this blog you can read our note podcast teaser or episode 0.

This episode was recorded in our homes working remotely. Audio Production: Jose Ferrada, Lab4U. Distribution: Más Más

Music Credits: Cool Intro – Stings by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/…)

Re-imagining science education: New Podcast Lab4U Talks, by Komal Dadlani

Hello everyone, my name is Komal Dadlani and I am the CEO and co-founder at Lab4U where our mission is to democratize science and change the way science is taught.

Transforming smartphones in science labs

At Lab4U we are transforming smartphones and tablets into completo science labs, leveraging and taking advantage of the built-in sensors that mobile devices already have so that every student and teacher around the world can have a lab in their pocket.

We believe that behind great education technology, there needs to be great content and pedagogy, at Lab4U we are developing inquiry-based instructional material and we are supporting teachers through professional development.

Re-imagining science education

We are launching Lab4U Talks, a podcast to share our experience in education, science and technology while giving new perspectives on the problems of science education and hopefully sparking some dialogues that could be of interest to our community of science educators. 

One of the keys to educational transformation is to increase scientific literacy and develop 21st-century skills to prepare our youth for the future of the workforce and STEM related careers, at Lab4U, we truly believe that talent is universal but opportunities are not, that is why we want to empower teachers and students to be part of the change wherever they are. 

In this podcast when talking about science education, we will focus on topics and questions that we are passionate about, such as:

  • What is inquiry and why is it important?
  • What is scientific literacy and why is it an important part of good informed citizenship? Especially when we have to develop critical thinking when it comes to decision making. 

Pandemic, also a educational crisis

We started this podcast at a historic moment: during a pandemic that represents not only a health crisis, but also an economic, social, and educational crisis where more than 1.5 billion students have been affected by the closure of schools.

Almost overnight, the entire educational system has been forced to rethink the way we teach and learn. 

As we experience the shift to a post-pandemic world, we want to shine a light on the opportunities and challenges that education technology poses focusing on methodologies that can ensure that student learning is more significant than ever. 

Many have talked about homeschooling, which is when parents or guardians take charge of the education of their children at home and what we are seeing now goes beyond that, since it is “Home staying remote schooling”, that is.

Online learning vs. emergency remote teaching

We stay at home and there is an educational institution that is making the effort to teach us remotely, we have educators sending material, teachers on Zoom video call or some other video conferencing tool, an effort that we deeply admire.

During this pandemic, we also ask ourselves, is this “online learning” or is it really emergency remote teachingwithout a proper instructional design?

Can we take the same power point presentation that we used in the classroom and use it on zoom call for example?

Here we must speak about instructional design and pedagogy and how can we effectively apply different methodologies such as active learning, inquiry-based learning, project based-learning and much more.

This is just a peek at the many science and education-related topics we hope to address in Lab4U Talks

We hope that these insights will be useful for you in your day-to-day work with your students, children, or educational communities. 

At Lab4U, we are passionate about science education and we are excited to share our passion with you.

We hope you enjoy this podcast as much as we enjoy producing it.

Thank you for listening!

Here in this blog, you can read our note podcast episode 1.

Visit us at: www.lab4u.co or write to us at: [email protected]

Audio Production: Jose Ferrada, Lab4U. Distribution: masmas (++)

Music Credits: Cool Intro – Stings by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/…)

Lab4U Scholarship: Bringing science closer to students in high-need communities in times of COVID-19

The impact of the pandemic on schools and learning communities around the world has been incredibly challenging and demanding.

lab4u-experiment
Experimentation

The COVID-19 health crisis has affected everyone, and educators are no exception. Indeed, the impact of the pandemic on schools and learning communities around the world has been incredibly challenging, demanding that teachers, administrators, families, and students themselves radically change the way they’re teaching and learning in a short period of time.

While this transition hasn’t been easy for anyone, it’s been especially challenging for students in public schools in low-income communities, which may not have the infrastructure or the resources to adapt to this “new normal”.

Science, experimentation, and inquiry

Lab4U has always sought to bring science, experimentation, and inquiry closer to learning communities all over the world. At this time, we’re especially concerned with the experience of students and teachers in public schools, and we’re looking for ways to support them with resources to ensure quality distance learning experiences.

  • How can we ensure that all students, independently of their origin, have the resources and tools they need for a quality science education?
  • Who can we work with to multiply our impact in STEM education?

Beca Lab4U program: meaningful and lasting impact

lab4u-app
Lab on your pocket

In the spirit of generating meaningful and lasting impact in schools and communities in need of support, at the end of May we launched the “Beca Lab4U” (Lab4U Scholarship) program, supported by CEMEX and the US Embassy in Mexico.

Through this program, we were able to offer Lab4Physics Premium for free to a group of teachers and their students in public schools all over Mexico, giving thousands of students access to a lab in their pocket and the chance to learn science through experimentation from their own homes.

After receiving close to 200 applications to the “Beca Lab4U” program and evaluating the interest and motivation of each applicant, we selected a group of 39 physics teachers to participate in this unique program.

The teachers, who come from 7 different states all over Mexico, represent a tremendous diversity of contexts and experiences, but they’re unified by their concern for developing significant STEM knowledge and skills among their students, and an interest in innovating in science education.

Stundents worked with Lab4Physics from home!

After online training, we created users for more than 1,500 students who were able to access Lab4Physics for the last month of the 2019-20 school year. They worked with Lab4Physics from home, using only basic material most students can find at home.

Those that are able to have also been able to participate in synchronous classes with their classmates, and others who may not have internet or computer access have participated in WhatsApp and Messenger conversations with their classmates where they share their analysis and what they’ve discovered as they experiment from home.

lab4u-webinars
Online Training

We hope the learning that comes out of this project have a lasting benefit for participating students, and they keep learning and being inspired by science throughout their lives.

Are you interested in supporting science education in a high-need school?

There are thousands more students and teachers across Mexico and the world who are looking to contribute to important education initiatives like these when students and teachers need it most!

Contact us today to learn more!

[email protected]

Science education in times of COVID-19

COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, is an emerging, unprecedented, rapidly-evolving situation. It’s of concern to everyone because of its high level of transmission and risk of serious illness and death to those who contract it.

The virus can be serious for anyone, regardless of their age: even previously healthy, young people have gotten seriously ill and even died from COVID-19. But statistically speaking, the virus is especially dangerous for the elderly and for those with certain underlying medical conditions, like obesity, diabetes, asthma.

In a matter of months, COVID-19 has led to drastic changes to many aspects of day to day life, to try to mitigate the spread of the virus and to protect the most vulnerable.

Given the complexity of this issue, the public health and economic impact, the role of individual actions in determining collective outcomes, and the ever-increasing knowledge about this previously unknown virus, it’s clear that this is serious and complex issue for individuals to navigate, as well as for governments and health authorities to plan for.

Science education and science literacy as a tool to ensure individual safety

But at Lab4U, we believe it’s especially important to consider the impact of this pandemic on educational communities around the world, and to shine a light on the importance of science education and science literacy as a tool to ensure individual safety in situations like the one we’re currently living, and to combat misinformation, keeping us all safer and accelerating the end of the pandemic.

In the last few months, we’ve been bombarded by information—some of it true, some of it misleading, and much of it shifting as experts learn more about this novel virus.

To understand this situation, and how best to react, it’s important to think critically, to responsibly consume and share information, and to understand how the scientific process can lead to changing recommendations from public health professionals.

child-with-face-mask-back-at-school-after-covid-19

Let’s take a specific example: the use of masks in public spaces. Early in the pandemic, the advice of the WHO and health authorities around the world was that masks were not recommended for individual use.

In part, this was due to a lack of evidence about the effectiveness of mask use at curbing spread among individuals outside of hospital settings. But it was also intended to avoid shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) that doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals depend on to stay safe on the job due to a run on these products due to panic buying by individuals.

Later in the pandemic, the advice of public health officials changed. The US CDC and others encouraged everyone to use non-medical-grade masks in public spaces.

Why did guidance change?

Why did guidance change? For a variety of reasons. Yet for some, the seeming about-face has led to mistrust. Those with an understanding of the process of scientific research and discovery may be more tolerant of these shifts, because they understand that the shifting guidance reflects the scientific process and an ever-evolving understanding of the virus:

  • Its risks
  • Transmission pathways
  • And other factors. 

While it will take time for all of the impacts of this ongoing crisis to become clear, one of the most important takeaways is a renewed focus on the importance of science literacy. A well-informed population, is a population that’s prepared to successfully navigate a challenge like the one posed by the COVID-19 outbreak.

At Lab4U, we want to be a part of this change

  • Helping students and teachers around the world become more scientifically literate. As always, Lab4U is concerned with increasing access to a quality science education for everyone, supporting science educators in promoting inquiry and experimentation that’s the foundation for meaningful learning.
  • As part of this commitment, we’ve organized dozens of webinars and special opportunities for science educators, to bring innovative tools and methodologies for science distance learning closer to them
  • If you’re a science educator and you’re interested in new ways of working remotely with your students, contact us! Our team of science experts would be happy to help. Our email is [email protected]

We also invite you to check out this list of communications strategies and tools to enhance scientific literacy from the US National Institute of Health (NIH).

Original Blog in Spanish: Educación Científica en tiempos de COVID19

Back to school with Lab4U: A few tips to help you using our apps!

We are happy to support and walk you into this new school year as we welcome you to Lab4U! We want to start this new adventure together, making sure you don’t encounter any obstacles to implementing Lab4U in your classroom.

tesla-lab4u-app

If you’ve already downloaded one of the Lab4U apps, we congratulate you on joining our mission to reinvent education!

Now, in order to facilitate the process of downloading and using our applications with your class, we provided you with a few steps to follow!

First for your students to be able to use Lab4U’s application in your classroom, ideally you will need them to have access to the Internet.

We would recommend that you speak with the person in charge of IT at your school to request a network that allows your students to download the App.

However, we’re aware that some schools’ internet connection is not powerful enough to support an entire class’s activity, or that they may not have Wifi at all.

If this is the case for you don’t worry!

You can ask your students to download the application and the necessary experiments priorly to coming to class, since our apps can also function offline!

Installing The App

lab4u-phone

Once they have internet access, your students should go to the online store on their device — either Play Store (Android), or App Store (iOS). There, they can search for “Lab4Physics” or “Lab4Chemistry”, select the application with the red or the purple icon, and download it.

Done? Good! Now once they open it up, the screen will display a short tutorial explaining them in 4 very simple steps how the app works.

How to create an account?

If they haven’t been given a username and password from Lab4U’s team, we suggest that your students go to

  1. “Create Account”
  2. Select “Student”
  3. And register using their Facebook account, Google account, or their own email address.

How to sign in with an institutional account?

If your students were already given a username and password from the Lab4U team already, they can select “Begin Session” and enter the user credentials assigned to them.

lab4u-login

Once they’ve registered, they’ll be able to enter the app and start playing with the experiments and tools!

How to activate your 14 days free-trial?

To discover more experiments and explore a wider variety of tools you can activate a 14-day free trial, where you have access to all the features of the downloaded app.

lab4u-trial

To activate the free trial simply go to the menu in the upper-left corner, select “Try Free Demo” and then click on the green button that says “Try Premium. For 14 days”. 
After the trial period, you can buy the Premium version of the app, and continue to use unlimitedly all the tools and experiments during 180 days!

Last recommendations

If your school doesn’t have internet access and your students have to download the application from somewhere else, make sure to clearly emphasize on the following points before they start downloading the app:

  • Application names: Lab4Physics & Lab4Chemistry.
  • Select the red icon for Lab4Physics or the purple icon for Lab4Chemistry.
  • They must make sure they can access all of the necessary experiments and tools before coming to class.
  • we also suggest that you select one student from each group, who will be responsible for reminding his or her classmates to download the application before every session you’ve designated for conducting the experiments.

Now you should be ready to start this new year and make your science class a source of inspiration and motivation for your students with Lab4U!

If you need any further information visit our Teacher Portal and feel free to contact us, we’ll be happy to help you!

Thank you for working with us!

We wish you a year full of discoveries and inquiry.

Team Lab4U

5 Women in Science, you need to know about

Recently, we celebrated the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, so we thought it was the perfect occasion to remind you about the groundbreaking achievements of 5 Women in science throughout history.

The world is full of amazing female scientists, which would make it impossible for us to mention them all.

However, we still wanted to introduce at least 5 of them who changed the course of history, and we’re inviting you to comment right below this post to let us know which one is your favorite!

1. Marie Curie

Marie-Curie
Marie Curie

Is considered to this day, to be the Mother of Modern Physics. In 1898, together with her husband Pierre, she discovered the elements of polonium and radio for which she received a first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903.

Later on, in 1911, she also received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry making her the first person in history to win two Nobel prizes in different categories.

A beautiful quote from Madame Curie:

“In life there are no things to fear, there are only things to understand.”

Her Influence Today

In 2018, Google announced that it will expand its global network with new submarine cables in Chile, Denmark and Hong Kong, and to honor one of the greatest scientific influences the world has known, the cable connecting Chile to Los Angeles will be named “Curie”.

Google hopes that once deployed, Curie will become the largest single data pipeline in Chile, and will serve Google users and customers from all Latin American countries.

2. Jane Goodall

Jane-Goodall

Was a Scientist and English activist who spent six decades studying chimpanzees. Throughout her whole life she wrote innumerable publications and books containing all the discoveries and great scientific advances she made.

Her observations covered a wide range of topics, going from relationships between chimpanzees, to their feeding habits, to even the kind of tools they would use in their daily lives.

Goodall received several honours and awards for her research work and activism in favor of animals. In 2002, she was named Messenger of Peace for the United Nations.

Our favorite quote from her:

“Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, can we help. Only if we help, they will be saved. “

3. María Teresa Ruíz

Maria-Teresa-Ruiz

Is a Chilean astronomer and the first woman to successfully study astronomy at the University of Chile before entering Princeton University to complete a masters in astrophysics.

In 1997, Professor María Teresa Ruíz discovered an unusual celestial body, the first free-floating brown dwarf, which is thought of as being a failed star or expanded planet.

For this discovery, she became the first woman to receive Chile’s National Science Award.

More recently, in 2017, Prof. María Teresa Ruíz also won the L’Oréal Prize for Women in Science for her outstanding contributions and discovery.

4. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi

Francoise-Barre-Sinoussi

Is a French virologist. In 2008, together with Luc Montagnier, she was awarded the Nobel Prize of Medicine for the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

She is an active member of different science organizations, such as the Pasteur Institute or the National Agency for AIDS Research. She has been fighting against AIDS and collaborating for more than 30 years with multiple countries in Asia and Africa in the prevention, treatment and care of AIDS.

Our favourite citation from Barré-Sinoussi:

“If you want to reach your expectations, you must set high goals, it is the best way to make progress”

5. Katherine Johnson

Katherine-Johnson

She was an African-american mathematician pioneer in space science and computing. Johnson calculated the trajectory for Alan Shepard, the first American in space and was also in charge of assessing the calculations of the mission that sent the first American to orbit the Earth.

Her calculations played a big part in the success of the famous Apollo Moon landing program and the start of the Space Shuttle program, as much as in the United States’ first steps into space (Wikipedia, Katherine Johnson). In 2015, Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In 2016, the three-times Oscar nominee movie Hidden Figures honored her story and her accomplishments internationally, which happened while racial segregation was still very present in the United States.

An anecdote about K. Johnson:

“Her work was so accurate that when NASA switched to using computers, they would call on her to check the computer’s calculations for errors.”

We believe the next Marie Curie or María Teresa Ruíz can be anywhere in the world.

We need your help to inspire girls around the world to become the next generation of Women in Science.

To know more about how few women in science there are today check out our previous blog with some worrisome data.

Want to be inspired by some great videos created by TED-ed Women In STEM? Check them out here

If you’re interested in making a global difference for girls in science education all over the world, check out Lab4U’s solutions for middle and high school science class on our website or contact us!

9 Reasons Why you should implement Inquiry-Based learning in your classroom

Why is Lab4U Inquiry-Based Methodology essential for teaching science to the next generation?

cientificos

There’s a lot of talk about the importance of inquiry-based learning.

Yet in spite of all the hype, there’s often a lack of clarity around what, specifically, inquiry-based learning is.

While there’s no one correct, all-encompassing definition, in general inquiry-based learning refers to a set of active approaches that encourage students to engage with new ideas through curiosity and exploration.

As protagonists of their own learning process, students develop new knowledge and skills while charting their own course, developing longer-lasting competencies and key soft skills in the process.

Designing inquiry-based learning experiences for your students isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.

At Lab4U, we’re committed to ensuring that all students, no matter where they’re from, have the opportunity to learn science through inquiry.

Why? Because it improves student outcomes in the short-term, and helps them prepare for happy, healthy, and productive lives in the future.

Indeed, a 2018 Inter-American Bank Development Study found that Lab4U’s inquiry-based solutions for middle and high school physics and chemistry classes increased student outcomes, self-perception, and interest in studying STEM in the future.

Keep reading to find out more about the benefits of inquiry based approaches to teaching and learning that can inspire you in your own classroom!

laboratorio

1. Inquiry increases rigor and cognitive load

pensando

Inquiry-based learning pushes students beyond simply learning to memorize or remember, and toward applying knowledge in new domains, drawing connections among ideas, evaluating or challenging ideas, and even creating something completely new.

2. Inquiry increases engagement and interest

Inquiry-based learning connects a new concept or area of study with students own interests and lived experience. In this way this methodology awakens their natural curiosity, increasing engagement in learning experiences that are more relevant to students’ lives.

3. Inquiry increases intellectual risk-taking

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Inquiry-based learning experiences push students out of their comfort zone. Because it focuses more on exploring environments of varying levels of ambiguity, it lowers the perceived need to “get it right” that would otherwise make students wary of intellectual risk-taking.

Yet we’ve found that students are often enjoying themselves so much they don’t even notice they’re out of their comfort zone, happily exploring uncharted intellectual territory!

4. Inquiry develops key soft skills

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Inquiry-based learning also effectively develops important soft skills that are key for student success in the 21st Century, such as creative problem solving, critical thinking, logical thinking, teamwork, and even written and oral communication.

5. Inquiry is a natural differentiator

With Inquiry-based learning, because they have a degree of autonomy to select how they want to approach a task, students have leeway to select a learning pathway that appeals to their preferred learning style. Students then have the space to learn in a way that makes sense to them.

There are also many possibilities for purposeful differentiation — since inquiry-based learning activities are naturally student-driven and semi-autonomous, teachers are free to circulate and give individualized instruction, small-group support, and extension activities to students who need it most.

6. Inquiry transforms a classroom of students into a classroom of teachers

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Inquiry-based teaching can easily be combined with collaborative groupings that allow students to work and learn as teams.

With clearly set expectations and carefully defined roles, students explore, discuss, and come up with creative ways to approach a complex task, learning more as a team than they would individually.

Often, peer learning is just as effective as teacher-led learning. The most meaningful “aha!” moments often come in authentic interactions with peers. Suddenly, your class is transformed into space where EVERYONE is a teacher!

7. Inquiry creates lifelong learners

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Inquiry-based learning helps students become lifelong learners.

Life is about learning to navigate unfamiliar situations, and coming up with creative solutions in environments of uncertainty will help students find success not only in their current academic careers but will also help them adapt to a workforce and world that will continue to evolve in unexpected ways.

8. Inquiry triggers new approaches to solve a new type of problem

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The global issues that our world is facing today are known as “wicked” problems for they’re more complex than any problem our society has ever faced before.

There is no longer any good or bad solution able to solve a wicked problem such as climate change, nor there is any definite set of solutions to end world hunger, or any limit to scientific discoveries and innovations responding to the endless list of challenges humanity is facing.

Therefore, we need to enable the next generation today to face the world of tomorrow with a more dynamic and innovative way of thinking about problems.

And this is what inquiry-based learning teaches them to do by triggering their critical thinking capacities and pushing them to take action instead of learning passively.

9. Inquiry as a source of self-confidence

Inquiry-based learning allows students to embrace and feel comfortable with the possibility of making errors, making it rather an opportunity for improvement.

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Indeed, by challenging them to find solutions based on their own knowledge and experience, this learning approach empowers students to increase their self-confidence, and to freely experiment focusing on the inquiry itself rather than the fear of being “wrong”.

Join us!

At Lab4U we designed tools to enable teachers to implement Iquiry-based methodology in their own science classroom for middle and high schools.

We love imagining a world in which ALL students have the opportunity to regularly engage in the big ideas of science through inquiry, exploration, and discovery.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can incorporate more learning into your science classes, check out Lab4U’s solutions for middle and high schoolers! Visit our website or sign up for a 20 minute informational call.

Join the discussion!

We’d love to hear about how has inquiry-based learning helped improve student interest, motivation, or outcomes in your class? Let us know below!

If you want to find out more about Inquiry-Based Learning methodology, we invite you to visit these website;

https://tessais.org/the-benefits-of-inquiry-based-education/

https://www.topmostblog.com/benefits-of-inquiry-based-learning/

https://www.wabisabilearning.com/blog/inquiry-based-learning-advantages

The World Needs More Women in Science

Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science!

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At Lab4U we work everyday with the goal and desire to democratize science and make it into an equal field whereby everyone has the same chance to innovate and to succeed, regardless of their sociocultural background.

This is why we strongly believe in the importance of increasing the number of Women In Science and closing the important gender gap that persists within this field today.

Recently, the United Nations proclaimed February 11th as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls (UNESCO, 2017). For this occasion, today we wanted to bring up the challenges that we still have to fight in order to obtain equality within the scientific field.

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We know for a fact that a “Leaky Pipeline” in STEM Education makes it less likely for a woman to pursue a higher-paying career such as Physics, Engineering or Computer Science, leading to the presence of relatively few Women in STEM jobs today.

A lot has been said and debated regarding this leaking pipeline, but the facts are clear, only 29% of the world’s researchers are women. While a growing number of women are enrolling in university today, only a few of them aim to reach for the higher academic levels that are required for STEM or research careers (UNESCO, 2015).

The World Needs More Women in Science

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As the global challenges that our world is facing today are becoming increasingly complex to understand and to untie, science is in need for a more diverse group of people who can bring divergent visions and skills to enrich the research field.

Diversity has become the key to the future of science and this is why we must be willing to leverage all human capital and potential that we can, starting by including more women to work into these fields.

Inspired by initiatives seeking to improve conditions for women in society, Lab4U is also looking for strategies to motivate more girls to be interested in science early in their education.

We truly believe that by including them and making them feel more represented in this field, we will inspire them to become the next greatest astronauts or physicists of this world.

A study made by Hazari et al, 2015, about the Factors that affect the physical science career interest of female students, addressed the gender gap problem in the physics sector and tried to understand what could help reducing it.

During the study, they tested out 5 different hypotheses and observed which one would have the biggest impact on women’s physical science career interest.

  1. Teaching physics in a single-sex class
  2. Having a class taught by a physics female teacher
  3. Inviting female guest speakers in physics class
  4. Discussing the work of female scientists in physics class
  5. Discussed the underrepresentation of women in physics class.

What they found at the end of the study, was that the 5th solution was actually the one that had the most significant impact on those women’s physical science career interest.

As women became more aware about these gender disparities and about the power they held over them, they started considering a career in the scientific field more.

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What this insightful work shows us, is that to close this persistent gender gap in the scientific field, we first need to address the problem by recognizing it and bringing it to light.

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We believe the next Marie Curie or Maria Teresa Ruiz can be anywhere in the world, and this is why we need your help to put an end to this Leaky Pipeline and to inspire more little girls to take over the next generation of Women in Science!

To find out more about how you can motivate your own students’ interest for science thanks to Lab4U’s solutions and how you can implement them in your own classroom, we invite you to visit our website and contact us!

Join the mission!

Team Lab4U.

You can also download Lab4Physics from the App Store or Google Play!

We have all the materials teachers need to easily implement physics experiments in their classrooms. Visit our Teacher Portal for more information.

If you’re interested in learning more about Lab4U, send us a message here

Lab4U’s Tools to improve science education

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We are here to support YOU!

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At Lab4U, we know that teaching is rewarding. But it’s also one of the most demanding jobs out there.

Teachers constantly balance the need to prepare rigorous learning experiences for their students with the need to attend to the unique academic, social, emotional, and developmental needs of their students.

It’s impossible to do it all. That’s why we want to help teachers with innovative solutions that make it easier to design and execute inquiry-based learning experiences!

We’re pleased to welcome you into our global movement of educators looking to transform science education, and we congratulate you for being an innovator and a disruptor.

We fiercely believe that together we can generate impact in your classroom and that working together we can change the way science is taught around the world!

Thanks to our solutions for science education, Lab4Physics & Lab4Chemistry, you and your students can run engaging physics and chemistry experiments anywhere — in the classroom, in the lab, outdoors, or even at home, using simple, everyday materials.

It also allows students to collect, visualize, and analyze data in real time, using their own smartphones as lab instruments, and fosters discussion and collaboration among students.

Professional Development

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This new way of learning science through inquiry, makes science interactive, dynamic and fun, encouraging curiosity, motivation, and active learning.

Beyond positively impacting students, we aim to make this transition towards new ways of teaching and learning easy for you.

That’s why we created the Lab4U Teacher Portal, where you’ll find lab reports, class plans, videos, and other resources on how to lead Lab4U’s experiments in your classroom.

Resources for science educators

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It will even guide you to know what are the information and results we expect the students to reach at the end of each session.

This material is here to allow you to execute our activities seamlessly, and ensuring students achieve the ambitious learning goals you’ve set for them!

Finally, we will make sure that throughout the semester, you will be closely followed and accompanied by our team of educators and experts, who will frequently reach out to you and answer any of your concerns and needs about the way Lab4U works!

We can’t wait and achievements your students will achieve, and we’re happy to support you in the process.

Help us expand our movement by spreading the word to your fellow teachers, to give the chance to even more students to experience Lab4U!

Thank you for joining our mission, we’re rooting for you!

Happy Experimenting,

The Lab4U Team.

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