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