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March 12, 2013
LA MIRADA, Calif., March 12 — iLabs, the Remote Online Lab Network at Northwestern University, has been honored by the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) as the recipient of the 2013 Innovations in Networking Award for Educational Applications.
iLabs enables a paradigm shift in the delivery of science lab experiences for students and teachers. By remotely placing expensive laboratory equipment virtually in the hands of students using Web browsers, iLabs allows students early exposure to real scientific laboratory environments. Unlike conventional facilities, iLabs can be shared and accessed widely by audiences across the world who might not otherwise have the resources to purchase and operate costly or delicate lab equipment. And because iLabs are available outside regular school hours, students can carry out their assignments from any location with Internet access, providing significantly more lab time with greater flexibility of access, and potentially improved learning outcomes. These labs enrich science and engineering education by personalizing the laboratory learning experience, permitting instructors to use class time more productively, and increasing the scope of experiments to which students have access in the course of their academic careers.
To date, over 5,800 students and teachers have used the iLab Network, running over 8000 experiments. A number of these participants are located at institutions receiving network connectivity from CENIC.
The Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP) at Northwestern University continues to develop and expand the iLab Network. OSEP worked with researchers and teachers to develop curriculum for use in high schools and has offered professional development and ongoing webinars for teachers.
Innovations in Networking Awards are given annually by CENIC to highlight exemplary innovations which leverage ultra high-bandwidth networking, particularly where those innovations have the potential to revolutionize the ways in which instruction and research are conducted or where they further the deployment of broadband in underserved areas.
The iLab Network Project is supported in part by the National Science Foundation under grant CNS-1138461 and by a grant from Hewlett-Packard under the HP Catalyst Initiative. However, any opinions, findings, conclusions, and/or recommendations are those of the investigators and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funders.
California’s education and research communities leverage their networking resources under CENIC, the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California, in order to obtain cost-effective, high-bandwidth networking to support their missions and answer the needs of their faculty, staff, and students. CENIC designs, implements, and operates CalREN, the California Research and Education Network, a high-bandwidth, high-capacity Internet network specially designed to meet the unique requirements of these communities, and to which the vast majority of the state’s K-20 educational institutions are connected. In order to facilitate collaboration in education and research, CENIC also provides connectivity to non-California institutions and industry research organizations with which CENIC’s Associate researchers and educators are engaged.
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