Social (Science) Networking with LabRoots

https://www.labroots.com/

With more than 2.8 million users, LabRoots is one of the most popular social networking websites specific to science. Think of it as Reddit for scientists. Users share content, view scientific news, and form connections around topics of interest. The beautifully designed interface makes it an attractive option for keeping up with the latest in microbiology, immunology, genetics, neuroscience. LabRoots also offers a gaming component with their Leaderboard. Users earn points when interacting with content or others on the site and a leaderboard keeps users competing for status. LabRoots also offers webinars related to scientific topics.

One of the principles of the connectivist learning theory is that knowledge rests in a diversity of opinions and is gained through a process of connecting information (Siemens, 2005).  Applying the connectivist approach to the adult learning context, I could envision students in the sciences using LabRoots as a way of connecting with classmates around course topics. If I assign a topic such as chromosomal mutations, students could use LabRoots to search for relevant information and collaborate with one another via comments features on the site. Alternatively, students could contribute content to the LabRoots site as a class assessment.

References Siemens, G. (2005).  Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning. Retrieved from: http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Jan_05/article01.htm

View My Video on Vimeo!

https://vimeo.com/

Vimeo is a popular video hosting site used by more than 80 million people for education, business, and various social media purposes. The basic premise of Vimeo is its video player to which anyone can upload videos and embed them anywhere (websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). It is user-friendly and simple to use by anyone who can create a video, so it appeals to amateur cinematographers, educators, advanced filmmakers, business marketing professional, or anyone who wants to publish funny animal videos. When the videos are published through Vimeo, they are automatically ADA compliant and accessible on any device regardless of bandwidth or platform.

The owner of the video can establish privacy settings and invite others to view, edit, or contribute to the video. Yes! You read it right! Others can edit or comment right in the video itself. Even better, all versions are available to revert to in case a contributor gets too creative with their edits.  The video owner can also include interactive elements in the video, such as a call to action box that prompts the viewer to respond to questions.

Vimeo also offers data analytics via a dashboard for the video owner. The dashboard integrates data from any site on which the video is located and includes data related to number of views, engagement length, and types of access. Vimeo is not a free service, but there are special pricing plans for educators and students.

Will Richardson (2010) says, “the most sweeping change in our relationship with the Internet may not be as much the ability to publish as it is the ability to share, connect, and create with many, many others of like minds and interests” (p. 85). Vimeo is more than just a video sharing platform because it allows video owners to interact within the video content and collaborate to iterate on the original creation. In the higher education setting, I would recommend instructors use Vimeo for a collaborative video project around a content area topic. For example, in a political science class, students could debate a current political topic and upload videos of different perspectives on the topic. Then they could collaboratively edit the video segments to show both sides of the argument in a single video that the instructor could evaluate. 

References

Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.