- Register for October 5th webinar to discover new immersive simulations, administrator controls, and customization options to personalize learning and improve student outcomes
- Executive team expands with Chief Product Officer Amanda Pardy and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Julian Allen
BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Labster (www.labster.com), the world’s leading edtech platform for virtual labs and interactive science, has added more curriculum coverage, teaching tools, and customization options to make learning more immersive, equitable, and accessible. The multiple platform enhancements rolling out this fall address pain points for the full universe of Labster users — students, instructors, and administrators alike. Labster recently reached 6 million learners through its partnerships with high school and higher education institutions in more than 100 countries worldwide.
The award-winning company is also emphasizing its investment in closer integrations and academic collaborations by expanding its executive team with Amanda Pardy joining as Chief Product Officer, along with Vice President of Academic Affairs Julian Allen, Ph.D.
Labster has been innovating science education for more than a decade. With Labster, students can explore state-of-the-art laboratories from their internet browsers or iPads, without requiring access to multimillion-dollar physical facilities. The Labster catalog of 300-plus STEM curriculum-aligned virtual lab simulations and vast library of supplemental materials enable educators to enhance their science offerings and supplement their in-classroom activities to help increase student engagement and reduce dropout rates.
“We are laser-focused on empowering both administrative leaders as well as educators with more data, more options, and more control,” said Amanda Pardy, the new Chief Product Officer at Labster. “Our goal is to make it easier for them to meet the unique needs of their programs and improve student results and retention, while also achieving a higher ROI out of their use of the Labster platform.”
Offering more control
As a result of customer feedback, Labster is creating an Administrator Dashboard available in October to increase the visibility of data and analytics for institutional administrators and thus help faculty improve student outcomes. Previously, only the instructors directly using Labster could access performance data. Administrators can quickly view usage stats for instructors, students, courses, and simulations, including time spent and average scores. By putting these insights at their fingertips, Labster is enabling administrators to make more confident, informed decisions that elevate learning at the program, course, and individual level.
Customizing for success
Labster is helping instructors drive program success by rolling out personalized learning in the form of a Customized Quiz Editor. Course creators and administrators can now tailor Labster simulations and assessments according to the learning objectives of their institution’s curriculum. This also empowers educators to cater to different abilities in their classroom, crafting targeted assessments and feedback and drilling down on a particular subject matter to address unique student needs. Moreover, by including original questions in quizzes, instructors minimize the risk of cheating as responses won’t be easily found by AI tools and search engines. And since Labster simulations are designed with accessibility in mind, customized quiz questions and answers are automatically provided with a voiceover in simulations.
“I am trying out Labster Quiz Editor in the simulations used in our non-majors biology course, adding questions to emphasize certain points and adjusting the difficulty level of some of the questions that students tend to have the most issues with,” said Dr. Nadine Kriska, a member of the instructional academic staff in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Expanding curriculum coverage
The 300-plus browser-based Labster simulations in fields such as biology, biochemistry, genetics, biotechnology, chemistry, and physics use gamification techniques demonstrated to boost student enthusiasm and engagement as well as learning outcomes. A 2023 study led by Dr. Rachel Schechter of LXD Research (with Northwestern and Tufts University researchers) found Labster use increased the overall intention of students at a large university to enroll in future STEM courses and to identify a future career in a STEM field.
Several simulations are launching this fall:
- Simulations already available now include experiments in anatomy and physiology, such as urinalysis for suggesting a diagnosis.
- Simulation activities on blood components and conductivity will be released in October.
Enhancing the user experience
The simulations can be played on a variety of desktop, laptop, and tablet computers (such as Chromebooks and iPads) available to the broadest range of students, and more than half of the simulations are available in multiple languages. The Labster platform is especially useful for pre- and post-lab assignments, so science department leads can better prepare students and fully optimize the time students spend on-site in high-demand physical laboratories.
Labster platform enhancements available now include:
- A new Success Screen at the end of each completed simulation that showcases a student’s hard work and clarifies next steps, inspiring students with a greater sense of achievement.
- In response to instructor and student feedback, Labster has improved the voice of its “Dr. One” virtual pedagogical agent, as well as characters throughout all the simulations, to speak in more authentic, human-sounding voices.
New faces at Labster
Amanda Pardy recently joined Labster as Chief Product Officer. She is leading Labster’s product vision, strategy, and roadmap, driving immersive, equitable education that inspires the next generation of students. She will also oversee Labster’s expansion into healthcare, leading the UbiSim product offering. Her passion is to bring empathy to delight customers in every step of the product journey.
Amanda brings more than 20 years of experience developing consumer and enterprise products to her new role. Most recently, she was the vice president of product at Top Hat, a higher education company, leading product management and design. She previously held vice president of product positions at Sensibill and AdParlor, and has worked in product management at Intuit and Achievers.
“Labster is bringing a new life into education with innovative immersive learning experiences,” stated Amanda Pardy. “I am thrilled to join a team that is so focused on delivering a unique educational experience to students.”
Labster has also added a new Vice President of Academic Affairs, Julian Allen, Ph.D., who will focus his attention on building strong and lasting relationships with new academic partners and deepening existing Labster collaborations. Dr. Allen has an extensive background in improving teaching and learning through the strategic use of technology, innovative pedagogies, and data analytics. He spent nearly 26 years with Georgia State University in Atlanta, where he achieved his MBA and doctorate in Instructional Technology. He began his career there assisting instructors in making the most of classroom and online technologies and concluded it as the inaugural chief learning innovations officer and assistant vice president. Specifically, he taught Leadership in Instructional Technology in the College of Education and Human Development. Dr. Allen extended his professional influence beyond Georgia State as a faculty member in the Learning Technology Leadership program at the influential non-profit EDUCAUSE Institute.
“I could not be more excited to join the incredible Labster team of smart and passionate innovators and to help the team achieve its goal of bringing virtual science to learners of all backgrounds,” said Dr. Allen.
“We’ve added an incredible wealth of expertise to the Labster leadership team,” said Michael Bodekaer Jensen, co-founder and CEO of Labster. “Amanda is a true champion for our customers! She has already led others in creating Labster’s Product Governance Board, a group of educators, administrators, and thought leaders in digital education who meet quarterly to inspire and guide our product development and innovation. And Julian will be convening an instructors-only board to share best practices for teaching with Labster and to focus on scholarship and research into Labster’s impact. I can’t wait to follow the impact of the new initiatives and improvements they’ll bring as we aim to take Labster to the next level together.”
Labster was recently highlighted by Insider magazine as one of the “25 most promising education tech startups of 2023” and is the winner of the 2023 Tech Edvocate Awards category for best virtual reality tools.
Learn more about Labster
- Watch this video for insight into what Labster has planned for late 2023 and beyond.
- Request an all-access educator pass for a free trial of Labster virtual labs and interactive science solutions.
- Register for the Labster webinar, “Bridging Gaps, Boosting Success: How to scale and personalize your teaching,” on Thursday, Oct. 5, at 12:00 p.m. EDT.
Labster is dedicated to developing fully interactive virtual training simulations that are designed to enhance traditional learning outcomes by stimulating students’ natural curiosity and reinforcing the connection between science and the real world. The simulations can be used in a variety of different ways, from a full lab replacement to a supplemental learning activity. Over 6 million students in high schools and universities in 100-plus countries have used Labster to perform realistic experiments, learn key science concepts, and practice their skills in a risk-free learning environment. Labster’s team members are passionate about improving science learning, resulting in collaborations with over 3,000 leading educational institutions. Visit www.labster.com.
Sterling Communications for Labster