From Chalkboards to Virtual Labs: An A&P Educator’s Journey with Technology

Educators have been finding creative ways to teach since long before tools like Labster even existed. In science classrooms, students traditionally have hands-on experience in wet labs that is integral to their learning. Professor Margaret Brady, Associate Professor at the North Dakota State College of Science, found a way to stay true to her teaching methods while integrating virtual labs into her curriculum. 

Professor Brady is an example of an instructor who self-proclaimed to be anti-technology. She’s been teaching Anatomy and Physiology on and off for the last 30 years. 

Her college began using Labster during the pandemic and she couldn’t believe how useful it proved to be. She now considers herself a “heavy Labster user” and uses the virtual labs to prep students for wet labs.

We asked Professor Brady some questions about her experience teaching with our virtual labs. 

How do you teach?

“I’m extremely old-fashioned. I have evolved from the use of chalk and chalkboards to expo markers on a whiteboard and I write things on the board. I expect students to write it down. I do not use PowerPoint and I expect them to learn the material. 

I am the most anti-technology person that you would ever know. I’m the person you would least expect to promote Labster, but it’s a tremendous tool.”

Margaret Brady

What has your experience been using Labster?

“I originally used Labster for microbiology because of the COVID situation. A professor at NDSU recommended it. Fine. What else could I do? I had to do all that virtual stuff.

So, I liked the Labsters, I assigned a few here and there. I liked the stories, I liked the details. I liked the fact that Labster was taking these students and delving into a mission or a project and delving into those details. I liked that it was tedious. You put the pipette tip on, you throw it away, and you go through the steps like it’s a real lab.”

How have the students responded?

The significance for me was when I actually saw experienced learning take place. My best example of that is, in the anatomy world, blood typing. For about 30 years I have taught blood typing. I explain it in lecture, they get it. We go to lab, they’re lost. 

I was introduced to Labster, I had the students complete Labster just as a pre-lab and the lab went well. They did the Labster, came to lab, did the lab within 30 minutes with no questions, then passed the quiz with flying colors.

Margaret Brady 2

That’s when I started to really believe that something in the brain was really clicking with the experience, even though it’s virtual, learning is taking place. “

How did you decide on Labster as your tool of choice?

“Last year, the North Dakota University system paid for unlimited Labster access for all 11 institutions. Professors from all these institutions evaluated Labster against three other virtual lab simulation tools and they agreed unanimously to go with Labster.”

a man sitting in front of a computer monitor
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