The world is now witnessing what can be described as the technological invasion of all fields of life. It is the result of the unprecedented advances in scientific and technological fields throughout history. This new age of technology has helped us use digital devices in many fields, including education, which also helped spread e-learning platforms and distance education.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of virtual labs, Categories of virtual laboratories and scope of virtual laboratory.
Table of Contents
What are virtual labs?
One way technology has benefited education is the emergence of virtual labs. Virtual labs are virtual environments designed for various experiments, through them the real science lab is simulated to link the practical side with the theoretical side.
All students have the freedom to do 3d experiments experiments without a supervisor and without exposure to any kind of danger. This is done through computer applications that cover all fields of science. This saves a lot of effort and time for students and teachers. Teachers can prepare experiments at any time. Students are protected from directly handling dangerous chemicals and devices.
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Which Institutions and Individuals Need Virtual Labs
Virtual lab users only need computers with suitable capabilities, and need to be connected to the Internet so the user can work on all the experiments. This is one of the advantages of virtual labs as computers and digital devices have become available and spread in schools, universities, and homes.
Categories of virtual laboratories
There are three kinds of virtual labs:
- Remote Triggered Labs
- Measurement Based Labs
- Simulation/ Modeling Based Labs
10 Advantage of Virtual Labs
1- Take part in solving the issue of funding experiments and their limited resources.
2- Offer a safe workspace around lab material, where virtual labs allow the students to work from-a-far and not get in direct contact with hazardous, toxic or radioactive substances. This way of work is effective in avoiding laboratory accidents.
3- Facilitate and give accurate results of some experiments that may require complicated and expensive appliances.
4- In cases of limited equipment and funding, virtual labs provide teachers with practical applications of the curriculums to help them cover the different aspects of their courses and give students a chance of understanding the scientific material well.
5- Enable students and teachers to study and prepare their experiments from any place and at anytime with 24/7 unlimited accessibility.
6- Allow the students to reconduct their desired experiments many times, until they grasp all the information.
7- Without being put at risk, virtual labs give students the chance to determine and control the experiment’s various inputs, change the conditions and observe the resulted readings and outputs.
8- Participate in saving money for educational institutions.
9- Authorize teachers to electronically keep an eye over their students progress, guide them through the experiments, and evaluate them.
10- Add entertainment factors to the experiment, in order to grab the students’ attention and focus while conducting their experiments.
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9 Benefits of Virtual Labs
1- Virtual labs motivate students to conduct laboratory experiments.
2- They satisfy the scientific passion of students, allowing them to access the various experiments easily regardless of time or place.
3- Increase the understanding of scientific courses in physics, chemistry and biology; and Increase student achievement.
4- Eliminate boredom, as it provides fun during the experiments.
5- The virtual labs will increase the scientific research rates because it saves time and effort and enables researchers to use their time more effectively.
6- The virtual labs will enable students to use modern technology and enable them to follow the tremendous progress of the information revolution.
7- Students will be able to use the scientific method of problem-solving.
8- Developing teaching and learning methods that will lead to the effectiveness of the educational process.
9- Increased communication between students and each other on the Internet, which helps with the exchange of ideas and experiences.
The Importance of Using Virtual Labs to Keep Up with Digital age
As the world undergoes a radical transformation in techniques and methods of education and the use of digital devices in education, it is essential that educational institutions keep up with that transformation in order to help their students compete in the labor market and fields of research.
It is clear to us that the digital age will only open the way for those who can keep up with it and have technological skills that enable them to adapt to the technological applications in all aspects of life.
Scope of Virtual Laboratory
Practical experience is an important component of the educational process. However, the time and economical resources often required for the setting up and construction of scientific laboratories is outside the scope of many institutions.
A solution to this problem could be found in the adaptation of the Virtual Reality technology, which could allow the creation of Virtual Laboratories, which will simulate the processes and actions that could take place in real laboratories.
For example, educational virtual laboratory, aims to meet the requirements of a real laboratory and furthermore to support communication and collaboration services.
Virtual labs will allow users to perform experiments on educational fields, such as Physics or Chemistry or biology in 3D multiuser worlds where users are represented by avatars and they are offered a wide range of communication and collaboration on services in order to simulate efficiently a real learning experimental process.
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