Benchling for Education: How software is preparing the next generation of scientists

Johnny Truong

During a time of unprecedented changes to education across the globe, we’re proud to announce our newest initiative, Benchling for Education. As schools and universities continue to adopt remote teaching methods, the tools educators use for their courses will need to evolve as well. Today's global crises require advanced scientific solutions, so preparing students for STEM careers has never been more important. Benchling offers a free virtual solution – which only requires an email address and a computer with an internet connection – for biology teachers and their students.

Benchling provides a safe, engaging platform for students to explore and learn. Students can emulate how real scientists operate by using an electronic lab notebook and designing biological experiments with Benchling. Best of all, teachers can feel confident that their students are learning practical skills that can be applied to careers in science, medicine, and more.

Benchling is a powerful tool to support the bioinformatics work we do in our course. We use it for depositing student homework and to conveniently catalog and create portfolios of student work during the semester. - John Bean & Michael Edgar, Science Faculty at Milton Academy (Milton, MA)

Benchling is a platform designed for modern scientists, and we strive to make it accessible to a variety of audiences. For educators, we’ve created this Training Kit to show you the basics and how to set up and organize your class on Benchling. For students, we’ve developed self-serve lessons that allow them to practice designing experiments about PCR, cloning, and even CRISPR with Benchling. These resources don’t require prior experience with Benchling and can be applied to any foundational biology course.

Teach these molecular biology concepts with Benchling

Benchling’s wide range of applications can help teachers and students maximize its usage in the classroom and minimize the use of multiple tools. We’ve seen Benchling used to supplement activities such as lectures, take-home assignments or lab work. As a cloud-based platform, Benchling is also flexible for in-person or distance learning to comply with local regulations that may quickly change. You can check out our guide to adapting lab courses for virtual learning.

Biotech Partners strives to educate students about cutting-edge careers in biotechnology. Benchling has supported this by allowing students to simulate how scientists conduct research, especially during a global pandemic. - Lynda Gayden, Executive Director at Biotech Partners (Oakland, CA)

Benchling for Education provides:

  • Effective student learning through practice

  • An ideal platform for remote teaching and asynchronous learning

  • Early exposure to how scientists operate in academia and industry

Hear from educators who have already introduced Benchling to their students

Biotech Partners is a STEM education non-profit in Oakland, CA that educates underserved youth and exposes them to available science careers. For their recent internship program, they partnered with Benchling to introduce the platform to a cohort of high schoolers from across the Bay Area. You can also read about other STEM non-profits using Benchling like the Bay Area Bioscience Education Community (BABEC).

Biotech Partner interns attended a virtual workshop to learn how to use Benchling, June 2020.

Educators with diverse student audiences – from high schoolers to graduate students – have adopted new tools to keep their students engaged remotely. Philip Leftwich, a biology lecturer at the University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK) has used Benchling to adapt his biology lab course in response to COVID. Watch this presentation where he shares with other biology educators why he chose Benchling for remote teaching.

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