The iLab Network

The iLab Network

We are creating experimental facilities via remote online laboratories that enable students and educators to use real instruments, rather than simulations, to carry out experiments from anywhere at any time. Unlike conventional facilities, iLabs can be shared and accessed widely by audiences across the world that might not otherwise have the resources to purchase and operate costly or delicate lab equipment. Please visit at: http://www.ilabcentral.org.

Video from Teachers' Domain, http://www.teachersdomain.org.
© 2011 WGBH Educational Foundation. All Rights Reserved.
Adapted from iLab Central. Third party materials courtesy of Kemi Jona, Northwestern University; KQED; and Ah2 Music/Pump Audio/Getty Images.
Teachers' Domain Collection funded by National Science Foundation


The iLab Network At-a-Glance

  • Broadens access to laboratory equipment housed at universities and research labs to support STEM learning around the country and around the world.
  • Enables powerful new STEM learning opportunities by promoting more authentic scientific investigation practices and allowing learners to share, compare, and discuss procedures and results.
  • Prepares high school teachers to integrate iLabs into a range of science courses (including AP courses), encouraging them to go beyond the limitations of currently available classroom science labs.
  • Gives learners in formal and informal science education programs the opportunity to experience the excitement and authenticity of using high-end laboratory equipment to conduct scientific investigations as real scientists do.

What Are Online Labs?

Online laboratories are experimental facilities that can be accessed through the Internet, allowing students and educators to carry out experiments from anywhere at any time. Remote labs enrich science education by vastly increasing the scope of experiments that students have access to both in and out of school. The iLab Network enables students to use real instruments, rather than simulations, via remote online laboratories using their web browser. Unlike conventional experimental facilities, iLabs can be shared and accessed widely by students and other audiences across the world that might not otherwise have the resources to purchase and operate costly or delicate lab equipment. Take a look! http://www.ilabcentral.org

Who We Are

The Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP) at Northwestern University is partnering with other universities to implement an international, cyber-enabled learning resource which will provide access to remote labs in service of improved STEM education to a broad population of learners.

Our Mission

Our mission is to create the iLab Network — a scalable and sustainable online network that is recognized as the premier site where students and scientists around the world come together to access and share remote labs.

Where Are iLabs Used?

Numerous iLabs are already online and in use worldwide, including at MIT and universities in Australia, China and Nigeria. As part of this project, MIT is making a neutron beam experiment housed at its research nuclear reactor available to students online, and new devices will be put online at Northwestern University.

Who Are Our Partners? Our partner universities include:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of Queensland, Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology
  • University of Technology, Sydney

Partners in Chicago in addition to Northwestern include Chicago Public Schools, Evanston Township High School and Illinois Virtual High School, who will all be testing and deploying iLab remote online laboratories in their formal and informal science education programs.

This work is supported in part by the National Science Foundation under grants OCI-0753324 and DUE-0938075 and by a grant from Hewlett-Packard under the HP Catalyst Initiative. However, any opinions, findings, conclusions, and/or recommendations are those of the investigators and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funders.