Scitable is a new way to learn about and teach science, and also NPG’s most significant web launch for… erm… a long time. So I asked Vikram Savkar, director of Nature Education and principal force behind Scitable, to provide some info for Nascent readers. Here it is (click on the thumbnail images for full-size screenshots):
Scitable is an online learning tool for students in science. It has three main parts: content, tools, and community. Most of the content has been specially developed for this site by NPG staff editors, supported by an Editorial Board of teaching faculty, leading an author group of faculty, researchers, and science writers. Some of the content comes from various NPG journals, and another segment has been provided by Freeman and Sinauer, two excellent publishers who have partnered with us. All of the content is pitched at the university level. The most interesting tools – yet at an early stage – are intended to personalize learning paths and experiences (utilizing site content) for individual students or classrooms of students, based on their needs and preferences. The community is registered site members – for the most part they are structured within online classroom groups created by their faculty, but we intend to make it easier in time for site members to connect with each other across traditional academic boundaries for purposes of common interest, whether study or dialogue.
Right now the site is focused on genetics, but we plan to expand to other sciences over time. We’ve been in beta for a few months, and out of beta for a week. What I’ve been most excited by is seeing faculty and students in far-flung places pick the site up and begin to use it in their classrooms . . . Turkmenistan, Nigeria, Australia, Brazil, California. Even so, there’s a lot of work yet to do to build this out into its full potential, but we’ve got a great team of passionate and creative people here (near Boston) who are heads down doing just that. I expect the site to change quite a lot over the next year, even in the basics of how students and faculty experience it.
If you’ve taken a look at the site, let us know what you think . . . and if you like it, let the faculty and students near you know about it.