New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
Technology-enhanced learning has become a new important trend in higher education worldwide, in particular, engineering education. Remote Laboratories - laboratories involving physical equipment that are available through the Internet – are an important part of this phenomenon and are constantly gaining motion in the higher education scenario. However, remote laboratories can also be effective assets in pre-university education. Several initiatives and projects have been or are being carried out worldwide aiming at exploring the use of remote and virtual laboratories in secondary school students. For example, the European Commission funded project Go-Lab (http://www.go-lab-project.eu/) is building a federation of online laboratories and tools to embed these labs in the lectures of secondary school teachers to serve as a motivation for students to pursue a career in STEM subjects. However, most of these projects treat students as consumers of online laboratories and not as providers or developers. Building remote laboratories requires students to deal with a highly interdisciplinary scenario: It requires an good understanding of information and communication technologies, computer sciences, management and additionally understanding of the laboratory domain (ex. Physics, chemistry, electronics, biology, etc) in order to be able to design experiments that can be conducted online.
Together with national and international partners we are carrying out a project that places students of technical secondary schools in Austria in the role of remote laboratory developers under the supervision and tutoring of the project staff. Students are actively involved in the scientific process and actively participate in the acquisition of knowledge. Beyond involving secondary school students in the developing process of online laboratories we aim to acquire insights on the age appropriate requirements for the development of new laboratories in order to make these more attractive and therefore improve the learning experiences with the laboratory. We are working with three different schools. We began our research by constructing teams where each member had clear definitions of responsibilities. Each team had the task to develop an online laboratory in a domain of their choice. One team designed a Remotely Controlled Warehouse System, the second developed two online laboratories in control systems and electronics and the third team created a laboratory for civil engineering that investigates how forces affect the deflection of wood beam. The students were asked to create a mock-up of the user interface of the online laboratory and present it to the project staff. The process of bringing the laboratory online was carried out with close support of our team using a new developed software framework that simplifies this task. The project helped us to gain a better understanding of the age-appropriate student preferences for the use of the laboratory experiments. This might have a positive impact on the usage and utilization of online laboratories that will be developed in the future.
Garbi Zutin, D., & Auer, M. E., & Kreiter, C. (2016, June), Engaging Secondary School Students in Science by Developing Remote Laboratories Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26971
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