What are the Beyond Labz virtual labs?
The Beyond Labz virtual labs are a set of realistic and sophisticated simulations covering general chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, physics, and physical science. In these laboratories, students are put into a virtual environment where they are free to make the choices and decisions that they would confront in an actual laboratory setting and, in turn, experience the resulting consequences. All of the virtual labs are based on real data or the most sophisticated and accurate models available. We want students to explore the classic experiments in science and, as a result, discover the underlying principles following their own path.
What subjects and topics are covered by Beyond Labz?
The Beyond Labz virtual labs are divided into five major products covering general chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, physics, and physical science. Each of the products, in turn, are divided into lab benches that focus on specific segments of the discipline, some of which are shared between products. Below is an overview of what is provided in each product.
General Chemistry: Inorganic Chemistry and Qualitative Analysis, Acid-Base and Potentiometric Titrations, Gas Properties, Atomic Theory and Quantum Mechanics, Calorimetry.
Organic Chemistry: Organic Synthesis, Qualitative Analysis, Spectroscopic Characterizations (FTIR, 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR, Mass Spectrometer).
Biology: Microscopy (Compound, Dissecting, SEM, TEM), Genetics, Molecular Biology, Ecology, Systematics.
Physics: Mechanics (Free Motion, Orbital Motion, Ramp Motion, Collisions, Frictions, Solar System), Density and Buoyancy, Circuits, Optics, Gas Properties, Calorimetry, Quantum.
Physical Science: Mechanics, Density, Circuits, Optics, Gases, Calorimetry, Quantum, Titrations, Inorganic.
Are lab activities or assignments included in the product?
Yes, lab activities or worksheets are included for each product and can be found in the Worksheet tab in the Beyond Labz app. The lab activities are organized by product and by level (e.g., high school and/or higher ed) and for some products the lab activities are further organized by subject. Currently, the lab activities are in a PDF format. Clicking on a lab activity opens the worksheet in the default browser where the student can follow the procedures and answer questions.
For what education level is Beyond Labz useful and appropriate?
Beyond Labz has laboratory activities appropriate for middle school, high school, and higher education. In an actual educational laboratory, a physical lab does nothing until the instructor provides guidance, procedures, and learning goals for the student. Beyond Labz follows this same approach and separates the virtual experiments from the pedagogy, thus the virtual labs can be used for any level as long as the content is designed appropriately for the targeted educational level. This process is made more efficient by pre-populating a lab bench (what we call a preset) with the necessary equipment for the selected lab activity.
Can I get a free trial?
Yes, Beyond Labz can be downloaded for free and once installed provides free, unlimited access to all of the virtual labs for 1 day. A license code will need to be purchased for any access after the first day, however all of the lab activities would still be available for review.
Do I need to purchase a license code?
Beyond Labz can be downloaded for free and once installed provides free, unlimited access to all of the virtual labs for 1 day. A license code would need to be purchased for any access after the first day. License codes are valid for one year from the date of purchase.
Where can I purchase a license code?
Installation and Usability
How do I install the virtual labs?
First, download the Windows or Macintosh version of Beyond Labz from www.beyondlabz.com.
For Windows, run the installer and approve of any system warnings about the software. Once installed, a white Beyond Labz icon will appear on the desktop. Clicking the icon will launch the Beyond Labz app which is designed to run continuously in the background. The Beyond Labz window will open initially after launching, but anytime access is needed, click on the small blue Beyond Labz icon located on the System Tray. Currently, clicking on the white Beyond Labz icon will not open the window.
For Macintosh, open the DMG file and then drag the Beyond Labz app on to the Applications folder. To run Beyond Labz, locate the application in the Application folder and start it. The Beyond Labz window will open but will close automatically for any click outside the Beyond Labz window. A small flask located on the Menu Bar is used to open the Beyond Labz window when needed. Currently, clicking on the white Beyond Labz icon in the Dock will not open the window.
How do I use Beyond Labz to access the virtual labs and lab activities?
Once Beyond Labz has started, click on the blue icon in the System Tray for Windows or the flask on the Menu Bar for Macintosh to open the Beyond Labz window. Across the top will be 3 tabs for Apps, Worksheets, and Activate. The virtual labs are located in Apps, the worksheets can be found in the Worksheet tab, and a Beyond Labz license can be processed in the Activate tab. To use a specific virtual lab, you will first need to install it, but once installed click on the Open button to launch it.
Where can I find the worksheets?
The worksheets are located in the Beyond Labz app and not in the virtual labs. To access the worksheets, click on the Worksheet tab near the top of the Beyond Labz window, click on the appropriate subject, and then select the education level. Some worksheets are further organized into subjects. Note that for most worksheets, there are corresponding presets found on the virtual lab landing page that configure the lab for the selected worksheet. Currently, the worksheets are in a PDF format and open in the default browser. From there, the worksheets can be used in a variety of ways depending on the classroom environment.
What is the purpose of the different Beyond Labz icons?
After the Beyond Labz installation, a white Beyond Labz icon will appear on the desktop for Windows and in the Applications folder for Macintosh. Clicking on the icon will launch Beyond Labz if it is not already running. For Macintosh, the white icon will then appear on the Dock. Beyond Labz is designed to run continuously in the background, but clicking on the white icon will not open the Beyond Labz window. To open the Beyond Labz window, you will need to click on the blue Beyond Labz icon on the System Tray for Windows, or on the flask located on the Menu Bar for Macintosh.
How or where do I enter my license code?
License codes are entered on the Activate page in the Beyond Labz window. Make sure Beyond Labz is running, open the Beyond Labz window by clicking on the blue icon in the System Tray for Windows or the flask on the Menu Bar for Macintosh, and then click on the Activate tab. Enter the license code (it is best to copy and paste) and then click Process. You need to be connected to the internet to process the code.
What if Beyond Labz says I don’t have access to the virtual labs?
When first installed, Beyond Labz gives you 1 day free access to all the virtual labs, but after that first day you are prevented from accessing any of the labs. To gain access, you will need to purchase a valid license code and validate it on the Activate page.
Why does the Beyond Labz window always disappear?
Beyond Labz is designed to run continuously in the background. To open the Beyond Lab window, click on the blue Beyond Labz icon in the System Tray for Windows or the flask on the Menu Bar for Macintosh. Clicking anywhere outside the Beyond Labz window will automatically close it so it is out of the way when using the virtual labs, the worksheets, or other software.
How do I create a Beyond Labz ID or account?
To use the Beyond Labz app, you must create a valid Beyond Labz ID. On the Beyond Labz login page, click Get a Beyond Labz ID. Enter your name, a valid email address, a secure password, and then click on the Sign Up button.
Why does it take a long time to install some of the virtual labs?
The Beyond Labz app is the central hub to manage the virtual labs, lab activities or worksheets, and valid licenses. Installing a virtual lab in Beyond Labz is a two step process of, first, downloading the lab package and, second, decompressing the package and installing the lab. Some of the laboratories, Virtual Biology in particular, are very large and contain a large number of assets. If you have a slow internet connection the download process can take some time, and the time required to decompress the large number of files, particularly for Windows machines, can also be considerable. If the spinning circle is still active then the installation process is still working.
What if I didn’t enter a code but I still have access to the virtual labs?
When first installed, Beyond Labz provides free access to all of the virtual labs for 1 day. If the labs work without entering a code, then this means you are still in the 1-day free window.
How do I quit Beyond Labz?
You can quit the Beyond Labz app by clicking on the 3 dots at the top of the Beyond Labz window and clicking Quit. The Quit option is only available once you have logged in.
Using Beyond Labz in the Classroom
How can I integrate the labs into my classroom or curriculum?
Historically, instructors have implemented the virtual labs in their classrooms using four different learning strategies.
Lab Replacement or Augmentation. In many schools, laboratory facilities and resources are limited or non-existent. In this situation, the virtual labs are an ideal solution to provide students with realistic and effective laboratory opportunities. In our experience, however, we have learned that an augmented implementation is most effective for students where they participate in real lab experiences when possible, even if only rarely, but then augment or validate those experiences with the virtual labs. Keep in mind that the virtual labs provide a wide range of experiments that would never be available in any classroom environment.
Classroom Discussion. In situations where there is limited computer access in the classroom or at home, another effective implementation of the virtual labs is to do experiments, or even do the worksheets, together as a class. In this mode, the instructor would perform the experiment in front of the class, or invite students to perform certain steps, and then have the class as a whole predict outcomes, explain observations, and answer questions.
Homework. In environments where students have access to computers at home, worksheets can be assigned as homework. This can be an effective means to reinforce concepts taught in the class that day or to have students explore a topic first and then cement those ideas in class the next day. Using the virtual labs at home also produces a multiplier effect on learning and the use of scarce classroom time.
Group Work. Real science performed in university or commercial research labs is done in groups. Learning and discovery takes place when ideas are challenged and results are validated. Having students work in groups of 3 or 4 using classroom computers has proven to be a highly effective means for students to explore and learn in the Beyond Labz virtual environment.
How do I use the worksheets?
Ideally, teachers would create lab activities for their students that would be customized for their classrooms and curriculum, however in practice there is rarely time available to develop that kind of content. Thus, worksheets are included with each virtual lab product and can be found by clicking on the Worksheet tab in the Beyond Labz app. Currently, those worksheets are in a PDF format and when accessed open in the default browser. The difficulty becomes in how to collect the results and answers from the students. Historically, instructors have used the following methods: (1) Have students print the worksheets, fill in the data, graphs, and answers by hand, and then hand those in or take pictures and submit them back via email or a dropbox. (2) Have students record just the data and answers in an email. (3) Use the electronic lab book to record data and answers, save the lab book as an external file, and then submit those by email or a dropbox. This is especially effective for unknowns. (4) Have students record data, make graphs, and answer questions using a Google Doc or Google Sheet and submit those through their chosen Learning Management System.
Can I make my own experiments or lab activities?
The purpose of the virtual labs is to create an open-ended environment that allows students to do science without being artificially funneled down certain paths because of the limitations of the simulation engine. Beyond Labz has provided a set of lab activities or worksheets for each lab product and for different education levels. These worksheets cover a wide swath of typical curriculums, but they represent a small fraction of the myriad of different experiments and science that can be explored. The Beyond Labz virtual labs are truly an unlimited resource, and we hope teachers, instructors, and professors take advantage and develop their own experiments and laboratory experiences for their students.