Hundreds, even thousands, of students could perform laboratory experiments using an interactive, online system that its Stanford creators have dubbed the Biology Cloud Lab. The work, which appeared in Nature Biotechnology, is described in the video above, and in a recent Stanford News article.
In its current form, the lab consists of several dishes of single-celled, light-sensitive organisms and a set of LED lights connected to computers. Students can develop their own experiments by remotely manipulating the lights and tracking the organisms’ response.
In the future, a similar concept could be used to bring cost-effective learning opportunities to students in physics, chemistry or other fields, the researchers said.
“I think that science education requires tools that allow you to engage with ideas, because science is about ideas in the end,” said Engin Bumbacher, a graduate student in education and research team member in the video above.