Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, is working to provide economically challenged public schools access to professional, high-caliber science laboratory equipment virtually. The approach is proven; Northwestern's Remote Online Lab Network hosts authentic laboratory experiences. Using the virtual tools, students can learn the same skills they would in a physical lab, but bypass all the logistical limitations. A fall 2009 pilot showed a 15% overall gain between pre- and post-test scores among schools using the virtual instruments.
• Providing teachers and students with access to remote on-line labs that enable students to use real experimental devices via a web browser. Because remote labs are available 24/7, students using the tablets can carry out their lab assignments from any location with Internet access, providing significantly more lab time with greater flexibility. • 50 HP tablets, split into 4 groups of 12-15 tablets and loaned to 4-6 schools per semester • 25 Fourier probeware kits with StreamSmart dataports, split into 2 groups to pair with 2 of the tablet groups to loan to 2 schools per semester • Probeware allows students to collect and analyze authentic scientific data, both online and in the real world • Working with Thompson Rivers University to develop smartphone apps for access to iLabs and the British Columbia Integrated Laboratory Network (BC-ILN)
Findings & Achievements:
• 12 partner schools, 15 teachers, nearly 1600 students over 3 years – the flexibility program has allowed us to reach a much larger number of students with our online curricula • 3nd year of tablet distribution to schools – Split tablets into groups of 12-15 for broader reach to more schools • 2st year of probeware distribution • Conducted 2-day Teacher Professional Development Workshop June 28-30, 2011. A 1-day workshop on July 11, 2012. Teachers developed activities for others to use in the classroom with probes, Set up resources and access to activities and curriculum on the website, Another session is scheduled for July, 2013 • Set up tablet sharing program with all partner schools
Collaboration within Catalyst:
• Thompson Rivers University – Kamloops, BC, Canada • Western Washington University (Consortium Member) – Bellingham, WA • University of Queensland – Queensland, Australia • Lakes Community High School – Lake Villa, IL • George B. Swift Elementary – Chicago, IL • Thomas Hoyne Elementary – Chicago, IL • The Nettlehorst Elementary – Chicago, IL • Evanston Township High School – Evanston, IL • Antioch Community High School – Antioch, IL • St. John the Evangelist – Streamwood, IL • North Chicago Community High School – North Chicago, IL • Amundsen High School – Chicago, IL • Roosevelt High School – Chicago, IL • Higgins Community Academy – Chicago, IL • VOISE Academy – Chicago, IL