From Wiris, we would like to express our deep concern about the situation in Ukraine, and join so many voices from around the world in calling for peace. We stand with all the people who are suffering at this moment and condemn the use of any military action.
Wiris joins the firm condemnation against the war in Ukraine made by the ACUP (Catalan Association of Public Universities).
For this, we have made the decision to provide all Ukraine accounts with free MathType licenses until the 20th of September 2022.
Please contact email@example.com if you have been affected by this conflict and wish to receive a free license.
In the last few years, digital tools are gaining popularity. As in many other aspects of life, digitalization is finding its place in the laboratory environment. It is not a surprise. The list of advantages that the switch to online software has in day-to-day work is long.
On the other hand, the jump from paper to digital can be a bit overwhelming at times. To help you in your decision, here is a list of 5 reasons why you should consider making the move, if you haven’t done it yet.
Coronavirus showed us how important it is to be able to access your data and your work when you are far away from your laboratory or workplace. Now that we are leaving the pandemic behind, there’s still plenty of situations where we need to work remotely: when you work from home as a way to improve work-life balance (specially important to solve gender gap1, 2); when you are abroad for a conference or visiting another lab; or even when you move forward in your career and start a new position. In all these cases, the flexibility of online software can be a great advantage: You can access it anytime, anywhere and from any device. The possibilities are virtually endless.
One of the biggest concerns in science is reproducibility. According to a Nature’s survey3 of 1,576 researchers, 52% of them think that there is a significant “crisis” of reproducibility. Under the same line, an online poll of members of the American Society for Cell Biologist4, more than 70% of those surveyed afirm to have tried and failed to reproduce an external experiment, and even more surprisingly, 50% of them have failed to reproduce their own experiments.
The reasons behind this are many: from poor analysis or experimental design, to human error or lack of complete methods’ information. The list goes on, but in many of these cases, using online software could help increase reproducibility. They are designed to be consistent, follow industry standards and facilitate automated experiments and data collection.
Online tools are also designed to share your files and results easily with colleagues and collaborators. Aside from facilitating record-keeping and making your life easier, sharing is more important than ever. In the past years more publishers and funders are encouraging, even demanding, depositing raw datas and protocols in a repository. In this scenario, using online tools can become a huge advantage.
Also, improving the way you share your raw data, results and protocols positively impacts the reproducibility of your experiments. A study published in Plos One5 indicates that sharing detailed research data is associated with increased citation rate. Sharing not only improves your work but also the quality and robustness of science in general.
4. SAVE TIME:
Online tools help you to simplify your workflow and save time. Although in many cases you can do the same work with pen and paper, the online versions make it quicker. They are designed to free you from normally boring and time-consuming tasks and to improve one, or several, key steps of an experiment (creation, execution, data collection, data processing and calculations).
Moreover, using a toll helps to compare results across multiple runs and, even more exciting, when you deal with large amounts of data and samples, it can help you see the results in a global way and find connections.
5. INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY:
And last but not least, using online tools improves productivity and efficiency. Besides saving time, using online software avoids the mistakes and typical human errors that can ruin an experiment: misscopy data, transcription errors, data loss, haphazard record storage… They also help to optimize workflow and automate processes. In summary, using online tools is a great way to boost your productivity in the lab.
As you can see, everyone can benefit from changing to online software. From small labs to big biotech companies. There are plenty of options out there. If you are thinking of making the transition, we recommend to start small first and try different solutions to find the one that suits you and improves your workflow.
At Bufferfish, we do our best to create chemistry software and result analysis tools to make your life easier so you can really focus on your research.
Bridging the gap between classrooms and real world
The formulaic, rote learning approaches to classroom education are increasingly outdated in a fast-changing, technology-driven world. As technology advances at a fast clip with every passing year, the most rewarding careers are those in which the professionals can use innovative and creative approaches to what they studied from textbooks.
If education can be flexible enough to make room for every student’s strengths and learning inclinations, it is more than half the battle won. If students are equipped with the power to design their education and choose what to learn and how to learn (through informed decision making), they are likely to be more invested in making the most out of their classroom hours and beyond.
Every student is unique. The education system must be flexible to celebrate this uniqueness and help students achieve their career goals. This is already being done in some places. For instance, Leiden University in The Netherlands offers flexible learning pathways in which students can take charge of their education to align with their personal ambitions. They will be guided by the teachers in creating a unique education pathway that complements their talents and interests.
One student may be naturally inclined towards numbers while another may be good at understanding concepts. One student may be quick at spotting errors while another may be good at words and writing. Teaching can be most effective if each student’s strengths are optimized to create a wholesome learning experience.
The student takes an active interest in charting a course of action for the future by linking education to the career that they most likely see themselves in. They take into account their interests, natural strengths and curiosity while aligning them with the profession of their choosing. Students are able to draft a plan for their professional life, and be proactive in the decision making as they pursue their education.
Since students take ownership of their education, they are likely to be more interested and invested in the learning process. They become active learners from passive observers in the classroom. When a personalized learning pathway for a student includes creative teaching methods, students will ideally continue learning beyond the classroom, too.
What happens if a student changes her/his mind after a while on the pathway? This could happen as students cannot be expected to know for sure what they want. The education pathway should be flexible enough to allow a student to explore additions or changes without feeling like she/he is at a loss or has to completely start over. Education counselling is, therefore, extremely important to ensure that the student is making a commitment, and is allowed some elbow room to tweak the learning pathway.
Instilling the spirit of curiosity
A creative approach to learning has to start in the classroom, where students gain the confidence that learning need not to be fixed or given. It is, rather, a lifelong process that can be playful and encourages the student’s spirit of inquiry. Curiosity and the desire to know is at the heart of meaningful education. This curiosity is then given wings by personalizing learning so that the student can move forward at her own pace and time, using the format that gives the best results.
A unique path for every student
We live in a world that is increasingly celebrating our uniqueness, and offering personalized solutions to our needs. Be it advertising, technology, health, beauty or fitness, personalization has seeped into every part of our lives. Why should education be any different?
Charting out a unique pathway for every student is an exciting prospect in which the student, the main stakeholder of education, has the maximum say and also the maximum benefit from the process.