The Labster Podcast

Research on Labster in the Classroom

Episode Summary

Not every chemistry educator starts college knowing they'll have a career in STEM - some stumble upon their calling. That was the case for Dr. Melody Esfandiari, who shares her story and her personal commitment to supporting other women in science at the beginning of this episode. Always curious, Melody wanted to find out whether her Introductory Chemistry students felt prepared to conduct experiments in a real wet lab after learning with Labster virtual labs. So, she conducted her own research, comparing grades as well as students' self-reported data about their learning experience. You'll hear Melody's findings and find out what surprised her most.

Episode Notes

Memorable Moments:

Melody: [06:19] I noticed outside my little bubble, how much women are struggling to be heard and how their work is not recognized as much as a man's work is. And that's when I started to do my part.

Melody: [07:46] It has got to be a mentorship in every class that we teach, that you tell people, 'hey, you can do this.' I have a student assistant and I usually try to have students from different backgrounds so everyone in my class can say, oh, look, that person looks like me, they're doing this. I can do this, too.

Melody: [13:29] And one of the reasons that Labster has been working well is that the fact that with the Labster simulation, they can do things we can never do in a classroom. I'd given an example before that there is a simulation where they go to a different planet, they take a sample, they come back to Earth and then they analyze it. That might be a little hard to do in person!

Melody: [14:53] A lot of times we don't ask the students what they think. We think we know what's best for them. And it matters to me what students think because they're the ones that are learning. 

Melody: [17:23] The survey focused on 'after doing the Labster, are you confident that you can go to lab tomorrow and do the experiment?' And surprisingly, most of them felt confident. 

Melody: [21:40] I really hope that the universities are going to be open in the future to do things differently. Because they've done things the same way for a long time and it has been comfortable, but now we've learned new things,

Episode 12 Transcript:

More resources:
Picture a Scientist (video):

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