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Thursday, January 4 • 4:00pm - 5:00pm
ESTA Distinguished Speaker: Nick Braithwaite S07

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The internet of field and laboratory things: Real data, authentic interfaces for practical work
Please be aware that the work described in this talk is not about replacing field trips and laboratories with something less expensive and less exciting. Rather it is about using the affordances of the internet to take people closer than they might easily get to the exciting discovery opportunities of interactive learning.
The OpenSTEM Labs are the digital equivalent of a field study centre and a block of teaching labs. We began with onscreen activities such as virtual microscopes and other interactive tools linked to real data. Recent investment has allowed the incorporation of facilities for online remote access to real instruments: optical and electron microscopes; analytical tools such as spectrophotometry, FTIR, HPLC, GCMS; a planetary-rover training-landscape; immersive virtual reality. These form a key part of the practical facilities that are now accessible to our distance learning students, via the internet and 24/7. The OpenSTEM Labs enable us to be more inclusive and more accessible than is conventionally the case. In addition to describing how the OpenSTEM Labs are used across all of STEM, including by students of Earth Sciences, this talk will propose ways which we might enable other educators to make use of our facilities. In the presentation several remotely located instruments will be operated and other on screen devices for interactive learning will be demonstrated.
The OpenSTEM Labs are a key feature of the OU's curriculum in several STEM disciplines. It is based on an original initiative with the Wolfson Foundation (2012) to establish the OpenScience Laboratory. In 2015 further investment from a HEFCE STEM capital investment enabled us to expand the laboratory to cover a wide range of disciplines including Engineering, with a new OpenNetworking Lab to be added in the near future. The OpenSTEM Labs are contributing to a HEFCE funded project "Embedding and Sustaining Inclusive STEM Practices" (in collaboration with Earth Science colleagues in Plymouth and Leeds).

avatar for Chris King

Chris King

Geoscience teacher trainer, ESTA
The Earth Science Teachers' Association (ESTA) has been supporting geology, science , geography and primary teachers in their teaching of Earth science across the UK for many years. Through the Earth Science Education Unit (ESEU), ESTA offers workshops to teachers across the UK... Read More →

avatar for Professor Nick Braithwaite

Professor Nick Braithwaite

Associate Dean, Academic Excellence, The Open University
Since 2010 I have taken a special interest in enabling a wider range of student to be able to benefit from the kind of interactive learning that has traditionally taken place on field trips and in laboratories. I am currently the Director of the Open University's OpenSTEM Labs which... Read More →

avatar for Earth Science Teachers Association

Earth Science Teachers Association

Earth Science Teachers’ Association (ESTA)
The Earth Science Teachers' Association aims to advance education by encouraging and supporting the teaching of Earth sciences at all levels. Have you joined?@ESTA_UK 

Thursday January 4, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm GMT