As a Biology teacher at an innovative career and technical education high school in Vermont, Emily Dehoff wants her students to be ready for science at the higher ed and career levels. She believes that engaging her students, getting them to participate and understand, is fundamental to that goal. She said, with Labster “I realized that if it’s engaging me, it’s going to engage the kids. This is game-like, and that’s where this generation lives.”
Read more about:
"When the pandemic happened, I thought, “How on Earth do I turn a career and technical education class remote? My kids do things like making blood smears and urinalysis.”
Emily Dehoff teaches biochemistry and life sciences, including an animal science program. Her classroom currently has seven rabbits, two guinea pigs, and several chickens. “I really love teaching kids and I really love science. I am lucky I found what I’m good at.”
Would you recommend Labster?
Yes, I absolutely would. Labster is really cool.
Some students travel up to an hour to get to the North County Career Center Vermont, a rural career and technical education high school near the Canadian border. Then I stumbled upon Labster. I had done virtual labs before and I didn’t really like them. I never found them engaging. But when I tried Labster, I was like, “whoa, this one is actually engaging me.” And I realized that if it’s engaging me, it’s going to engage the kids. This is game-like, and that’s where this generation lives.
What the students are saying, and what I’m seeing, is that they are engaged. Students are tired of video lectures and worksheets. When I give them a worksheet, they’re not all doing it. But when I give them Labster, they’re all actually doing it. It’s more motivating. And when we run through the experiment in my real lab, they’re all actually getting it. They’re coming into my room with the confidence that they already know the procedures.
Labster Supports Blended Learning
My classes are a blended model. Half my class is with me twice a week and then they are on remote learning for three days while the other half of the class sees me. And it’s a tough design because I can’t actually access the online students when I’m busy teaching the others in class.
I don’t just give them Labster and say, “have fun kids!” I do the simulations myself before I give them to the students so I know what concepts are used and then I pre-teach the virtual lab. And yes, some of it’s going to be over their head. And that’s OK. Like I tell them, “some of you may not understand, but you can persevere and push through. You’re not going to fail my class if you get a Labster wrong.”
I can’t do a microbiology laboratory on the level Labster can. I don’t have the equipment. They don’t get it in my classroom, but they get it through Labster. It allows us to do laboratories that would take days and they’re done in 30 minutes.
Labster Handles Assessments
What’s beautiful about Labster is that it can be placed directly onto Google Classroom with a link to see the student rosters and grades. It saves me so much time because Labster does all the assessing and I get all the feedback information. I don’t have to then take whatever spare moments I have to assess how the students are doing, how long they took, what answers they got right and wrong - Labster does that for me.
Labster is Reasonably Priced
From the standpoint of someone who orders scientific equipment all the time, from microscopes to stethoscopes and otoscopes - when Labster quoted me on how much it was going to cost, I was shocked. I thought it was incredibly reasonable. Honestly, my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t be able to afford it. So in case other districts are afraid, I can tell you: it’s affordable.