Saarbrücken (GER), February 2017 - Within the framework of the Go-Lab project, which started in November 2012 and ended in October 2016, a web portal for online laboratories and learning applications was developed to promote inquiry-based science teaching and learning in schools in fifteen European countries. The project targeted students aged from 10 to 18 and aimed to wake their interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects, inspire them to learn, and motivate them to start a scientific career in the future.
During the past four years, more than 1,600 teachers were trained in the use of inquiry-based learning tools, and more than 15,000 students benefited from the unique learning opportunities offered by Go-Lab. Currently, the Go-Lab portal contains about 470 online laboratories and 500 ready-to-use inquiry learning spaces - and it keeps growing. New learning spaces are created and published daily by enthusiastic teachers, so their colleagues can make use of their work.
The end of the Go-Lab project in October 2016 is not the end of the story. The follow-up project Next-Lab is going to continue its mission of introducing innovative science-teaching methods in schools. Next-Lab will increase the number of teachers and students involved and make efforts to align the project results with teacher-training programmes. This way, Next-Lab will be able to inspire more young people for science and technology.
Next-Lab will also bring Go-Lab to the next level of innovation, enhancing the web portal with new features and learning tools. Teachers will get the possibility to jointly create cross-curriculum learning scenarios and inquiry spaces. Furthermore, the Next-Lab platform will support project-based and problem-based collaborative work of students and provide applications to evolve the "21st-century skills", such as critical thinking, self-direction, and teamwork.
In Next-Lab, IMC is responsible for a large part of the technical implementation of the integrated Next-Lab platform, as well as for the development of sharing and tutoring services. The most extensive new features include a recognition system that automatically grants badges to the most active teachers, as well as social features, such as comments, ratings, and popularity indicators. These are aimed at strengthening the collaboration between the Next-Lab community members and making it easier to find tools and resources.
Next-Lab started on January 1st 2017 and will last for three years. The project is coordinated by the University of Twente and involves eleven partners based across Europe. Next-Lab is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme.