With decreasing education budgets throughout the US and world, how can schools without the means to create a full wet lab experience provide a meaningful STEM education to students? A virtual lab can come close to providing the same level of chemistry and physics education? Even for schools that can afford a sophisticated wet lab, a virtual counterpart can greatly amplify it–whether because the equipment is too expensive for experimental use or because the boundaries of time and space that previously existed between periods in school are eroded in a virtual environment, leading to increased creativity and participation.
Enter Late Nite Labs, a company that provides a full-service interactive online virtual science laboratory with a full curriculum suite for both high school and college students. Science House Foundation Executive Director Joshua Fouts discusses the origins, goals and future of the company with its founders CEO David Jaffe and Harris Goodman, Chief Development Officer.
TechCrunch recently reported on Late Nite Labs new round of financing from investors, despite doing well with a strong paying subscriber base in the “tens of thousands.” In our interview Harris Goodman describes how this will help the company accelerate and expand their curriculum development.
A Global Perspective
Late Nite Labs already has an eye on a global market with easy-to-use translation tools that allow non-English-speaking students to use the software. David tells us that they plan on reaching out to more international markets soon.
Competition or Collaboration?
With the dominance of the Khan Academy, which has experienced dramatic growth in the online video education field, we discuss how the makers of Late Nite Labs see their work in relation to the likes of similar online video platforms. Jaffe and Goodman describe what’s next for Late Nite Labs in an era of rapidly evolving technology where virtual world platforms become quickly outdated.
What do Science Teachers Think?
We also explore how science teachers have responded to a tool that could theoretically remove the need for many of the costly wet lab equipment most chemistry and physics labs require. This is not a minor issue for many science teachers. There is significant debate about the educational merits of virtual science labs. Harris and Jaffe explain the ways the experience is unique and, in many ways complementary to a wet lab. One interesting element the Late Nite Labs education experience is that mistakes can be made where incorrect results are fully simulated. They also have a well-defined mathematical system wherein students can simulate the use of materials they would likely never have the opportunity to test in the physical space, for example, working with e-coli.
Listen to the full podcast here:
About our podcast guests.
David Jaffe, CEO and Founder
David is the founder and visionary behind Late Nite Labs. Along with a deep background in online education and applied science, David brings his passion to LNL. Prior to founding Late Nite Labs, David was the CTO of Net Talk. David received his B.SC in Mechanical Engineering as well as an M.Sc from Technion University in Biomedical Engineering.
Harris Goodman, Chief Development Officer
Harris leads Late Nite Labs’ business development and sales efforts. Previously, Harris was an associate at a Manhattan based investment bank, where he concentrated on digital media. He also served as VP of Business Development of Kinor Technologies, a semantic web and data base platform. Harris holds an M.Sc from Johns Hopkins University in molecular biology.