• News

May 10, 2024

Educators Guide Xplorlabs Improvements and Future Content

Since the initial launch of Xplorlabs in 2015, the Office of Research Experiences & Education (OREE) has worked closely with more than 200 teachers to ensure this open-access educational platform is user friendly and aligned with national science education standards.

The OREE education team continuously creates opportunities for teachers to share their Xplorlabs classroom experience and opportunities for improvement. These educators spend time reviewing specific assets on the site, completing a brief survey, and attending a one-hour focus group to share their feedback. 

Based on this feedback from teachers, the new and improved Xplorlabs 2.0 was launched in May 2023 along with two updated pathways: The Science of Thermal Runaway in spring 2023 and The Science of Fire Forensics in winter 2023. Educator feedback led to content that was better aligned with science standards, incorporated more exploration into site interactives, and made more explicit connections between the content and the fire investigations.

Megan O’Keeffe
Megan O’Keeffe, former 8th-grade teacher and senior education specialist with OREE

“Teachers make the best decisions for their classrooms, and they know what students need to learn,” said Megan O’Keeffe, a former 8th-grade teacher turned senior education specialist with OREE. “When we involve teachers in the resource design, we are ensuring our resources are relevant and responsive to our target audience.”

The updates to the Fire Forensics pathway include seven improved interactives and multiple downloadable resources, an updated design to match the rest of the site, and content improvements to better align with best practices in science education.

Teachers who use the Xplorlabs platform and would like to get involved in future updates can email the OREE education team at ULRI.Xplorlabs@UL.org to be invited to participate.