Taking the Plunge: A New BioInteractive Site
We take feedback seriously.
We heard from you that you wanted to be able to save favorite resources, find connected content more easily, create sequences of resources that you use year after year — and that you needed a better browsing and search experience. So, we took the plunge and redesigned our website to provide a richer, more customizable user experience.
We are not new to the redesign process (see the “BioInteractive through the Ages” images), but with 650 distinct resources and counting — including animations, virtual labs, films, and activities, as well as blogs and educator tips — redesigning our website felt like a daunting task. After working on this for more than a year and having resurfaced on the other side, we are excited about the results and hope you will like what you see.
Our mission has not changed: bringing the power of real science stories into the classroom. Stories are a great vehicle for illustrating the process of science, connecting ideas, meeting actual scientists, and providing context for facts and data. Real stories, real scientists, and real data are core characteristics of our work. You can find out more in the About Us section, where you can also meet the team behind BioInteractive.
Our website, however, has undergone some changes, with several new features and updates. Here are some of my favorites.
One of the biggest changes is our login feature. We feel your pain when it comes to having another password to remember, but you don’t have to create an account. Regardless of whether you are logged in or not, you will have access to all the content on our website. (And rest assured links to pages you saved in the past should still work, and the same resources will still be available on our website.)
Although it’s not a requirement, creating an account has some benefits. You will be able to save your favorite resources, get recommendations of resources that match your content interests, see workshops relevant to you, and create resource “playlists.”
What exactly are playlists, you ask? That’s another new feature that came from your suggestions. Playlists are ordered sequences of BioInteractive resources, accompanied by detailed notes about how these resources can be implemented in the classroom to teach a lesson, unit, or even an entire course. For example, if you are looking for inspiration for teaching genetics in your high school biology class, check out the playlist on lactose intolerance. Undergraduate faculty teaching speciation in their intro bio class can use the playlist on anole lizards.
These are just two examples of the curated playlists currently posted on the website. We will continue to add new playlists, and modify and update existing ones. The benefit of being logged in is that you can save your favorite playlists, create your own, and/or share them with your colleagues and students.
Many of you may also be familiar with storylines: coherent lesson sequences, with each step driven by students' questions, that culminate in students being able to explain phenomena. Our website now offers a Storyline Viewer tool. One of the most exciting functionalities of this tool is that you can use it to build and visualize your own storylines, or to modify an existing one. At launch, the Storyline Viewer only has a few existing storylines, but we have many more in development.
Another key feature on our new website is a dedicated Professional Learning section with tools and materials to enhance educators’ own content knowledge and pedagogy. BioInteractive works closely with science educators at all stages of content development, and in planning and delivering workshops. So, educators are as much a part of our DNA as our stories and data sets are. You can hear straight from educators through our new Educator Voices section, which contains implementation ideas and educator tips. Watch that space as we continue to grow our offerings!
We love to hear from all visitors to our website with new ideas, suggestions, or kudos. So drop us a line. And remember that the best way to stay up to date on what we are doing is to sign up for our newsletter, like us on Facebook and join our Facebook group, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.