12 December 2012

The iLab experiment at UQ has just welcomed its 8000th student, carrying the University's name into the science classrooms of North America.

Since 2007 the experiment designed and built at UQ has been teaching high school students in Illinois about the spread of radiation and the inverse square law.

The striking difference is that the experiment is housed and runs in the Physics building at St Lucia.

The American students access it over the Internet.

Students log in to ilabcentral.org, select the radiation experiment (with a prominent UQ banner), and run the experiment, selecting and testing different values for the dispersal of radiation as distance increases from the source.

Associate Director of UQ’s Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology (CEIT) Dr Mark Schulz has led the experiment.

UQ’s Len Payne designed the control system, and the UQ School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering workshop built the physical mechanism.

Colleagues at Northwestern University in Chicago organised groups of high school teachers to create an online learning framework incorporating the experiment for their students.

Funding for the radiation experiment was organized through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT by Professor Phil Long, Director of CEIT, from an NSF grant CI-TEAM Implementation Project - The iLab Network: Broadening Access to Hands-on STEM Learning via Remote Online Laboratories.

Next time you pass the Physics Building, remember that it’s not only at St Lucia, but virtually overseas as well.

And check out the introductory video at http://ilabcentral.org/10.php.

Story supplied by Professor Emeritus Roland Sussex OAM, Research Fellow, Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology