Collaborators: Keith Turner (Learnexx 3D), Prof Peter McOwan (QMUL).
The Virtual Science Lab is an interactive teaching aid that encourages students to experience real-life lessons in academic practice and transferable skills needed for life long learning. Technical skills are taught with 3D interactive games technology such that the student can practice lab procedures multiple times and learn from mistakes without incurring additional resource. The virtual lab utilises the Learnexx 3D platform (www.virtualtissuelab.com) and is custom designed to mimic the facilities and equipment which exist in the real bioengineering world. This has been achieved through collaboration with the life science companies, Eppendorf, Ocean Optics and BMG. In addition, the virtual science lab facilitates feedback and assessment on user performance by incorporating assessment, peer-review and an evaluation/self reflection process.
The virtual science lab was presented at the 2015 Teaching & Learning conference, Queen Mary University of London.
The virtual science lab was published in Labs for the 21st Century in STEM Higher Education http://oro.open.ac.uk/38849/1/Labs_for_21st_century.pdf
New funding by the Westfield Trust (2013-15) builds on previous excellence and explores the approach college-wide by broadening applications to students from engineering and the life sciences (approx 1000 users). Basic lab knowledge and practical skills will be taught to Level 4 students in the virtual lab and include:
1. Rules for good lab practice.
2. Basic techniques in the life sciences eg. using the microscope, understanding molarity and dilutions, measuring absorbance.
3. A tool for writing up methods and note taking.
4. Teacher feedback via the QM+ platform.
The virtual lab mimics real facilities at the School of Engineering and Material Science, Queen Mary University of London.
The virtual lab models real equipment by life science companies such as BMG, Ocean Optics and Eppendorf.
The cost effective platform is designed to improve learning and will help students learn lab skills in an effective and exciting way.
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