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Is Pivot Interactives "hands on?"
Is Pivot Interactives "hands on?"

Pivot Interactives is a unique solution for many barriers to traditional laboratory experiences.

Trevor Register avatar
Written by Trevor Register
Updated over a week ago

Pivot Interactives lets students explore phenomena using hands-on exploration as well as interactive video and simulations.

Hands-on Options in Pivot Interactives

Pivot Interactives expands hands-on options by making the experience more streamlined for students and teachers, with instructions, data collection and analysis, and teacher feedback and scoring all in one place.

  1. Data Collected by hand
    Students can collect data using simple tools like rulers, stopwatches, and scales, to collect quantitative data. Using built-in instructions along with data tables and graphs, students use Pivot Interactives as a digital lab-notebook. Teachers use Pivot Interactives grading tools to provide feedback and scores.

  2. Bluetooth Sensor Collected Data
    Bluetooth sensors from Pasco and Vernier can be connected directly to Pivot Interactives, with out the need fo any other software downloads or plug-ins. Students can stream data from these sensors into Pivot Interactives data tables. Students analyze their data using Pivot Interactives data analysis tools.

  3. Student Video Upload
    Students can record video of experiments in the classroom using their cell phone camera. Next, they upload the vide into Pivot Interactives and use interactive tools to make measurements from the video.

    1. students use rulers, grids and protractors along with a stopwatch to analyze motion of collisions, projectiles, and many other scenarios. Students can make graphs to explore the patterns and relationships that are fundamental to the study of physics.

    2. students use Iris™ is a family of color- and light-based measuring tools to make quantitative measurements from their video. Examples include measuring turbidity, light absorption by chlorophyll, fluorescence from biological activity, and many others.

What about Interactive Video?

When students collect data from interactive video, is that real science? Astronomers gather data by satellite, the biostatisticians interpret public health data, and environmental scientists analyzes data collected by remote sensor networks. Are they "real" scientists? Of course they are! While setting up equipment is one scientific skill, most scientists spend time designing investigations, collecting and analyzing data, using results to develop and test models -- all skills that students develop using interactive video.

Neither Next Generation Science Standards nor the College Board science practices specifically refer to manual manipulation of equipment as a required science practice. Instead, the skills required by NGSS and College Board are higher-order science practices, like experimental design, data collection and analysis, and the use of scientific models -- all of which are easily enabled using Pivot Interactives interactive video.

Furthermore, education research shows that interactive video is effective, even when compared to apparatus-based learning. Under controlled conditions, students who use a curriculum based on interactive video showed significantly greater learning gains on science-process critical thinking skills even when compared to integrated hands-on learning. See more on our summary of the research for interactive video as well as this peer-reviewed paper published in Physical Review Physics Education Research.

Borrowing language from College Board:

A hands-on laboratory experience is one in which students manipulate, observe, explore, and think about science using concrete materials...For the purpose of the AP Course Audit, the College Board considers a virtual lab to be an interactive experience during which students observe and manipulate computer-generated objects, data, or phenomena in order to fulfill the learning objectives of a laboratory experience. These objectives include, but are not limited to, generating and exploring answers to experimental questions, drawing and evaluating conclusions, and thinking and communicating effectively about science.

Much like these aforementioned scientists, students using Pivot Interactives are gathering data from observing and manipulating interactive videos of real experiments, not simulations or "computer-generated objects." Students are expected to gather data in an accurate and efficient manner, as if they were manipulating the equipment themselves, as well as how to analyze and interpret that data to draw sound, evidence-based conclusions.

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