Telelab: A Platform for Remote Labs 2.0

With the goal to enhance and enrich distance learning of science and engineering, IFI is developing an innovative cyberinfrastructure, branded as Telelab, using a combination of technologies such as cyber-physical systems, digital twins, virtual reality, augmented reality, robotics, mobile computing, and teleconferencing. Telelab approximates real-world laboratory experiences in an online environment with mechanisms including, but not limited to, telepresence, scientific visualization, data synchronization, remote control, mixed reality, and social interactions. While it is designed to be an addition to distance education that can be used anytime, Telelab is especially useful amid the COVID-19 pandemic that may otherwise force teachers to cut lab activities short or give them up entirely.


A screenshot of a live experiment delivered by Telelab

Like video conferencing software, Telelab allows many students to freely access and participate in ongoing and past experiments from a Web browser and allows any educators to create, operate, and manage their own remote labs. We envision it as an implementation of remote labs 2.0, a distributed model in contrast to the first generation of remote labs that are somewhat centralized.


A distributed framework for remote labs

Based on the Telelab platform, IFI is developing and testing optimal strategies and pedagogies for engaging students with socioeconomic diversity and broadening their participation in science exploration. We envision that, over time, Telelab will become a science hub for millions of students to share, access, and learn from a large number of science experiments anytime, anywhere. Such open online labs promise to democratize science learning and mitigate educational inequity, especially for underserved schools that lack resources to conduct a wide variety of authentic science experiments.

Entrance

Telelab

Driver Apps

Infrared Explorer for Android

News

IFI Tests Remote Inquiry on Telelab

Articles

Three Ways of Using Telelab

Lab Units

Absorption of solar radiation
   Student worksheets
Baking soda and vinegar
   Student worksheets
   Teacher guide
Why do metals feel colder than wood?
   Student worksheets

Publications

Engaging Students in Distance Learning of Science with Remote Labs 2.0
Remote Labs 2.0 to the Rescue: Doing Science in a Pandemic

Teacher Feedback


“Students cannot touch the real objects, but they can add thermometers onto the real objects. This is really cool! They can do hands-on investigations even without touching the objects. It would be even better if they can have more interactions with the objects.”

“In real labs, I ask students to do free exploration before giving specific instructions on where to observe and what to analyze. Then we share, as a whole class, what we find. With Telelab, I can do the same thing. They can add thermometers anywhere and share what they find. Some focus on purple colors (representing cold) and some focus on red colors (representing hot). From their choices of places, they start to ask questions of why it happens as it shows.”

“With this technology, science learning will involve diverse voices from students, about their houses, gardens, and rivers in their community, to name a few. It’s more than extended access through online platforms.”

Student Feedback


“I thought it was really cool that although we are all so far apart in distance, we were all able to participate in the live experiment together in real time. I liked the thermal cameras since we were not able to be there in person it gave us a nice visual representation of what was happening during the experiments.”

“[I like] being able to watch in real time as a reaction is taking place [and] getting to chat and talk with the teacher and discuss real-time results like you would in an actual classroom.”