Senior Columnist EducationNews.org
Eastern New Mexico University
About Dr. Nicolas Benedict: Dr. Benedict, President and CEO of eScience Labs, is an accomplished biologist, whose academic areas of expertise include molecular genetics/evolution, systematics and molecular biology. He has an extensive background in education ranging from the University to Elementary school levels. At the University level he both lectured in courses and taught labs on subjects such as; Biology, Ecology, Evolution and Molecular Genetics. He also spent a number of years traveling to inner city schools to teach children about wildlife, with a particular emphasis on urban wildlife.In this interview he discusses science education and in specific eScience.
1) First of all, what exactly is eScience Labs?
Responding to the growing online education trend and instructor demand for experiential learning methods, eScience Labs launched a line of quality, safe, and complete lab kits for the modern distance learner.eScience lab kits deliver comprehensive, hands-on labs that span the fundamentals of various introductory level science courses and cultivate learning outcomes. Designed to complement any curriculum or teaching style, the kits serve as supplemental course content and provide teaching aids that make scientific exploration both engaging and fun for online and distance students.
2) Who was responsible for the development of this?
The eScience Labs team is a group of experienced PhD level scientists and educators that had become increasingly frustrated with the lack of opportunities to introduce students to science. As parents and businessmen, eScience Labs also recognized that methods of teaching and learning were evolving, and outreach to science students must be conducted in new and innovative ways.
3) What grade or grades is this for?
eScience Labs are designed to meet the required lab work for upper level high school and lower level college students in the following introductory level science courses: Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Microbiology and Anatomy/Physiology.
4) Does this facilitate higher order thinking or critical thinking or even scientific thinking?
Yes, eScience labs facilitate higher order, critical and scientific thinking in a discipline that is notoriously difficult to teach online.Traditional introductory science courses are generally regarded by instructors as the most difficult to teach online and are often cited as the most conceptually challenging by students.This difficulty in conveying scientific concepts is often attributed to the vast scope of the disciplines as well as the apparent disconnect between science and students' everyday lives. Hands-on experimentation goes beyond just recalling texbook information, requiring students to think critically about the concepts and use first-hand observation to bring seemingly tangential scientific fundamentals to life.Higher order thinking is also needed to draw connections between scientific information and the world around us.
5) What about for kids who have exceptionalities or special needs?
eScience Labs are ideal for students with exceptionalities and special needs.Students can work through the experiments at their own pace, and they have access to supplementary web-based content that provides additional information about the concepts and their relevance to 'real life.'This content is ideal for science-loving students that want to know more about certain concepts, but also students that require additional resources to master science-related subject matter.
6) Is there a place on line where people can get a "feel" for this product? Do you have a web site?
Yes.Please visit www.esciencelabs.com for more information.On the site, you can obtain additional information about the lab kits, pricing sheets and ordering information.Interested parties can also request an online demo or a sample lab kit.
7) What kind of research has been done on this product?
The creators of eScience Labs' kits have been developed and tested by PhD-level scientists and educators on staff.Each bringing a wealth of knowledge and resources from lengthy and successful careers, eScience has assembled key experiments to any science curricula.Each experiment is exhaustively tested by the PhDs on staff to ensure they are user-friendly and cultivate the desired and necessary learning outcomes.
8) What makes eScience Labs so spectacular?
eScience Lab kits are the next generation of home lab kits.Other home science kits have flooded the market that are lab-in-a-box, figure-it-out, work-at-your-own-risk lab kits that are not engaging and are often dangerous, lacking proper instruction manuals and packaging explosive materials next to one another.Not only are current lab kits unsafe and confusing, learning outcomes and comprehension are suffering.eScience Labs' kits convey scientific concepts in engaging, fun, and most importantly safe ways, delivering comprehensive, hands-on labs that span the fundamentals of various introductory level science courses.eScience Labs kits are safer not only for students but also the environment, utilizing disposable and non-hazardous materials. eScience labs are also adaptable to any curricula and can be completed in any order, depending on the instructor's preference or lesson plan.
9) What question have I neglected to ask ?
I think an important question to ask is 'Why eScience Labs?'The answer to that question is this: There is currently a crisis in science education stemming from the growing popularity of online learning and the lack of innovative, hands-on ways to teach the laboratory sciences outside of traditional brick and mortar schools.Poor quality lab kits have flooded the market that not only fail to cultivate learning outcomes, but are also dangerous for unsupervised experimentation.eScience Labs is addressing the void in online science education through their at-home lab kits.
Published March 4, 2008
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