Mad Lab — The Future of Science Education
Posted on July 6, 2012
Sarah Bayley, Seviora Citra and Sophie Shearer create a web-based cloud for students and teachers, designed to encourage girls to foster their interest in science.
This design outcome was born from the two words: ‘education’ and ‘gender’. A literature review was conducted to find any issues or gaps in the market there may be. It was established that there is a serious lack of women working in the science profession; both in Australia and overseas. Extensive research was conducted, including a cultural probe, questionnaire and focus group to solidify our findings and to help establish a suitable design outcome for this problem.
We found that we needed to target children and more specifically girls, to help encourage and foster their interest in science from an early age, as well as provide them with suitable role models. At the same we needed to get primary school teachers onboard and assist them in teaching their students science. Therefore Mad Lab was born: a web based application that utilises cloud computing and incorporates two different components: one for students and one for teachers that work complimentary.
The student section is very illustrative and colourful (without being over the top) and has different worlds (the four different areas of science: space named ‘intergalactic goodness’, ‘chemistry: things that go bang’ and so on) that the student’s chosen avatar can follow through to find different activities, games, quizzes and also connect with other students. The teachers section has a vast array of chosen experiments and activities, broken down into time increments, that they can draw from when planning their teaching week. It also includes the curriculum, a planner and feedback section.