Interactions in Understanding The Universe, I2U2 an "educational virtual organization," strengthens the education and outreach activities of scientific experiments at U.S. universities and laboratories. I2U2 creates and maintains an infrastructure and common fabric to develop hands-on laboratory course content and provide an interactive learning experience that brings tangible aspects of each experiment into an accessible "virtual laboratory" setting for education at different levels and in various venues. The I2U2 collaboration of scientists, computer scientists and educators directly addresses the urgent national priority to grow and sustain the scientific workforce, and to promote the public's appreciation of and support for the complex collaborations of our national scientific programs.
I2U2 labs take two similar but distinct shapes. "e-Labs," delivered as Web-based portals accessible in the classroom and at home, are implemented with the ever-expanding capabilities of Web-based media. "i-Labs," delivered as interactive interfaces typically located within science museums and similar public venues, leverage the latest advances in display technology and human-computer interaction, and bring the experiences and appreciation of scientific investigation and inquiry to the wide audience of informal education. These laboratories break new ground by using distributed computing for education in the same way that science uses distributed computing. I2U2 reaches communities underrepresented in science and continuously assesses the impact of this approach on science education. I2U2 collaborators use existing partnerships with underserved populations to prototype and evaluate the labs.
This project is supported in part by the National Science Foundation and the Office of High Energy Physics in the Office of Science , U.S. Department of Energy. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation or Department.