Next-Lab (Next Generation Stakeholders and Next Level Ecosystem for Collaborative Science Education with Online Labs) is a European research project co-funded by the European Commission in the framework of the Horizon 2020 Programme. Next-Lab focuses on introducing inquiry-based science education (IBSE) in schools and continues the mission of the project Go-Lab, promoting innovative and interactive teaching methods in primary and secondary schools.
Next-Lab provides teachers and educators with a variety of advanced learning tools supporting scientific thinking, processes and topics in more than 40 languages. It affords access to hundreds of virtual and remote science laboratories, inquiry learning applications and Inquiry Learning Spaces organized by scientific domains and age groups. The Authoring Tool allows teachers to create their own cross-curriculum learning scenarios and Inquiry Learning Spaces to share with their students. Furthermore, Next-Lab encourages the dissemination of expertise and know-how through teachers’ committees, collaborative work and sharing of Inquiry Learning Spaces.
Next-Lab equips students with the scientific and technological knowledge, skills and social competencies they need to shape their future, while providing rich, fun and challenging learning experiences. Next-Lab’s innovation tools guide students through the inquiry learning process, support their in-depth understanding of scientific topics, and develop their 21st century collaboration and reflection skills.
Next-Lab aims at encouraging the implementation of inquiry learning processes and tools in primary and secondary schools across Europe, to support a positive attitude towards science and technology especially with younger students. Next-Lab aspires at increasing the number of in-service and pre-service teachers, as well as primary and secondary school students, involved in the project activities and implementation of inquiry learning tools. Next-lab supports teacher training institutions and teacher trainers to create their own training materials and organize workshops centred around inquiry-based science education in schools. Online lab owners and institutes are encouraged to publish their remote labs and virtual simulations on the Sharing Platform, giving them the opportunity to attract various groups of stakeholders and increase the recognition and attraction of their tools.
Platform and Tools
The Sharing and Authoring Platform bases on the existing platform developed in the project Go-Lab (the Go-Lab Portal), containing remote and virtual science labs, inquiry learning applications, and Inquiry Learning Spaces (ILSs) together with an authoring tool for teachers to create own ILSs. Next-Lab brings the Go-Lab Portal to a new innovation level, launching new features and facilities. Some of them are:
- Collection of apps supporting students in the acquisition of 21st century collaboration and reflection skills as well as tools for self- and peer-assessment
- Collaborative spaces as personal learning environments for advanced students to work on research projects and particular tasks in teams
- An ePortfolio solution for students to collect their experiment and analysis results
- The possibility for teachers to collaboratively create Inquiry Learning Spaces
- A recognition scheme for teachers automatically awarding badges to the most active teachers (e.g. those most actively sharing their results with the community)
- A helpdesk for teachers establishing direct contact between the teachers and the support team and providing support on demand