GOLABZ: TOWARDS A FEDERATION OF ONLINE LABS FOR INQUIRY-BASED SCIENCE EDUCATION AT SCHOOL
1 Imc Information Multimedia Communication AG (GERMANY)
2 Ellinogermaniki Agogi (GREECE)
3 Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (GREECE)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:In the recent years, Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) has proved its efficacy in school education extending “traditional” frontal instruction and motivating students to actively participate in doing science. IBSE-methods receive support by means of learning technology on both hardware and software side. Many European schools are equipped with computer classes, iPads and high-speed internet connection. A huge variety of web-based learning applications, simulations and visualisations, as well as remote experiments is available. However, there is a lack of pedagogic frameworks, supportive tools and best practices allowing school teachers to easily find and efficiently apply available technologies.
The EU-project Go-Lab (Global Online Labs for Inquiry Learning at School, www.go-lab-project.eu) aims to support implementation of IBSE-methods by creating pedagogical and technical framework providing teachers and students with access to online (remote and virtual) science laboratories and supportive web-based learning tools. Further, it gives teachers a possibility to create their own virtual Inquiry Learning Spaces (ILS) containing these labs and tools and being correspondent to their particular teaching goals. In scope of the Go-Lab project, the GoLabZ Repository (https://golabz.eu) has been developed, representing online labs, learning apps, and ILSs, and making them accessible for teachers all over the world.
The structure of the GoLabZ Repository is based on the methodology for organizing online labs, which includes metadata elements that can be used to describe online labs in a common and systematic way. To develop this methodology, multiple repositories and federations of online labs have been analysed in order to elicit the necessary characteristics of the labs. Further, user survey data has been collected to assure the implementation of the requirements from teacher communities. A set of online labs has been analysed and categorised according to the proposed scheme so as to be included into the GoLabZ Repository. Thus, a comprehensive online lab classification scheme has been defined.
Based on the conceptual design and specifications described above, a selective list of metadata has been adopted for the first GoLabZ prototype. The metadata sets for online labs, learning apps and ILSs have been specified and implemented in a filtering mechanism (based on a hierarchical taxonomy) assisting users in navigating these resources. Thus, the Repository provides school teachers an opportunity to find and select online labs and additional tools based on multiple parameters, such as the subject domain, students’ age, level of complexity, etc. This first prototype is being further developed continuously implementing the users’ requirements.
This paper represents the GoLabZ Repository and its use for science teachers beginning with (1) derivation of the online labs classification scheme and definition of metadata elements providing pedagogic “added-value” for the users, towards (2) technical implementation of the defined classifications, and finally providing (3) a usage scenario targeting science teachers of primary and secondary schools wanting to use online labs in their classroom activities. In sum, this paper aims at communicating pedagogic background and advantages of the represented approach, as well as opportunities opened up by the Repository for teachers practicing inquiry-based learning activities in their classes.
Keywords: Inquiry-based science learning, school education, online lab, learning application, inquiry learning space, federation, repository, classification.