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Pros: Lots of options, great community of support and content, well-designed, lots of flexibility.
Cons: Steep learning curve for modifying/adding your own activities.
Bottom Line: An excellent and adaptive tool for allowing students to explore the science lab in an online environment.
How Can I Teach with This Tool?
Pivot Interactives is a powerful tool for teachers and students alike, allowing for traditionally physical lab experiments to be brought into an online environment. It allows for significant flexibility: Teachers can provide access to tools and materials they may not have access to in the classroom, and students can take control of their experiments through options to try different combinations of variables as they choose.
The videos provided are not just static content but allow students to combine different variables and see how they interact. There are also tools (like rulers, light/color monitors, grids, and protractors) embedded into the videos so that students can take measurements themselves instead of just watching a video of someone else taking them. It really does lend an interactive element to the lessons that many other, similar platforms are lacking.
Teachers can either use the premade content (over 500 videos currently), access the vast library of community-created activities (over 9,000), or modify existing activities or create their own. A word of caution when creating your own: The learning curve is quite steep. However, there are extensive how-to guides, blogs, walkthroughs, and other supports to make this process as painless as possible. Pivot also offers a substantial selection of question types to add to your lessons, including auto-graded multiple-choice questions and teacher-graded short and long answers, tables, and graphs.
Pivot can be used to introduce topics, experiment with a topic, generate knowledge about a topic, and even assess knowledge gained in a variety of ways. The number of options available to teachers (and students -- including uploading videos of their own) makes Pivot a truly powerful tool for both in-class and online instruction, once you get the hang of how to use it.