With Italy swept up in a tsunami of crisis as it battles the global COVID-19 pandemic, there are a few “drops of water in the sea” that are showing the way to calmer waters for students as they navigate these unprecedented times. With schools moving to virtual learning, Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) students in Naples, Italy, and elsewhere are turning to a new resource, LabXchange, to give them fresh tools for independent biotech learning.
“The Italian scenario for COVID-19 has changed so quickly during the last weeks, and the commitment of the teachers to move to distance teaching for the curriculum contents has been the priority. LabXchange and ABE are beacons in a sea with many waves, poor visibility, and many different boats, each one on its own course,” says Anna Pascucci, director of ABE Italy. “ABE teachers have been a very active community with positive attitudes even in this terrifying period.”
ABE is in schools in nine regions in central and southern Italy. Teachers there have been providing their students with reliable scientific information to stay informed during the pandemic. One ABE teacher in particular, Silvia Maria Lippo from the Liceo Labriola in Naples, has invited all her students across six classes, about 150 students total, to work on LabXchange and produce materials based on a COVID-19 “pathway.”
LabXchange is an online platform designed to give students new ways to virtually learn about the process of science. It includes articles, videos, and interactive lab simulations, as well as many different ways to interact with students, scientists, and educators in the life science community. The pathway feature enables teachers to create a custom curriculum for their class or select students.
Lippo has created five virtual classes using LabXchange, and students have been able to use the COVID-19 pathway materials for their independent study of the virus. Lippo is not alone in her use of these resources; Pascucci has invited all the ABE teachers in Italy to use the platform to help them substantively connect with their students.
“LabXchange provides a scientifically rigorous reference that is accessible and independent of the context of any single nation,” Pascucci says. “In this time of COVID-19, the students have much more time that is not captured by their usual social activities or sports, so I hope to increase students' confidence and curiosity in exploring the universe of resources LabXchange offers.”
You can see some of the work produced by the students at the links below.
Contact Jessica Silverman for more information about how to bring LabXchange to your students.
LabXchange has created a cluster of resources to help teachers and students get started using LabXchange: Remote Learning Cluster. This cluster contains pathways that guide you through creating an account, adding your own content, setting up a class, teaching lab skills remotely, and more.