What are Virtual and Remote Laboratories?


Virtual and remote laboratories reflect a movement among education institutions to make the equipment and elements of a physical science laboratory more easily available to learners from any location, via the web. Virtual laboratories are web applications that emulate the operation of real laboratories and enable students to practice in a “safe” environment before using real, physical components. Students can typically access virtual labs 24/7, from wherever they are, and run the same experiments over and over again. Some emerging virtual lab platforms also incorporate reporting templates that populate with the results of the experiments so that students and teachers can easily review the outcomes.

Remote laboratories, on the other hand, provide a virtual interface to a real, physical laboratory. Institutions that do not have access to high-caliber lab equipment can run experiments and perform lab work online, accessing the tools from a central location. Users are able to manipulate the equipment and watch the activities unfold via a webcam on a computer or mobile device. This provides students with a realistic view of system behavior and allows them access to professional laboratory tools from anywhere, whenever they need. Additionally, remote labs alleviate some financial burden for institutions as they can forgo purchasing specific equipment and use the remote tools that are at their disposal.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Virtual and remote laboratories show great promise for expanding learning opportunities especially in schools of scarcely popolated rural regions of Europe that will likely have to rely increasingly in distance learning options. They also provide opportunities for "hands-on" learning about issues that may be too dangerous othervise such as nuclear physics. (- kiira.karkkainen kiira.karkkainen Nov 3, 2013) I agree! - Panagiotis.KAMPYLIS Panagiotis.KAMPYLIS Nov 3, 2013
  • Virtual labs which are cheaper than actual science labs might been used where school funding is restricted.- paul paul Nov 3, 2013

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Ability to conduct hands-on experiments that may be othervise too dangerous etc. (- kiira.karkkainen kiira.karkkainen Nov 3, 2013). I would also highlight a bit more the distance learning aspect.

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on European schools education?


(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?


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