On Feb. 24 2022, Russia initiated a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, displacing millions of residents and disrupting every aspect of daily life. According to estimates from the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, over 2,600 educational institutions have been damaged and over 400 have been destroyed. One year later, millions of Ukrainian students remain displaced, both internally and abroad, and remote learning has become central to providing educational continuity.
To learn how best to support affected learners, LabXchange, an initiative of Harvard’s vice provost of advances in learning, consulted with the UNESCO Global Education Coalition and Ukraine’s Ministry of Science and Education. As a result, the free LabXchange platform and all of its learning management tools are now available in Ukrainian. In addition, Fundamental Concepts and Techniques in Biotechnology, a comprehensive, high school-level biotechnology curriculum that includes 11 virtual laboratory simulations, is now available in Ukrainian. This brings the total number of languages supported by the LabXchange platform to 15.
Even before adding support for the Ukrainian language, LabXchange engaged over 119,000 users in Ukraine since Feb. 24, 2022. “The sustainability of the continuous educational process is our key concern, and we are committed to working with our supporters to ensure that education continues. To this end, we are ensuring that digital content is of high quality. LabXchange, an interactive and practical tool, will be particularly useful for Ukrainian students,” stated Serhiy Shkarlet, minister of education and science of Ukraine.
LabXchange leveraged a variety of resources to complete the translation project, including a graduate student in Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as well as Ukrainians temporarily resettled in the Boston area. “As an individual affected by the war, I’m thankful for efforts to promote the Ukrainian language, especially on a progressive platform like LabXchange, which is a benchmark for others,” said Yulia Samokhvalova, a software engineer from Kyiv who now lives in Boston.
LabXchange was founded on the principle that all students deserve equal opportunity for success in science. Whether supporting communities devastated by war, global pandemics, or structural inequity, LabXchange is committed to advancing science education globally. Launched in January 2020, LabXchange helps educators and students discover, engage with, and share highly curated and personalized online lab experiments, interactive lessons, and videos. These learning experiences complement in-person education, foster scientific literacy, and inspire learners of all ages to harness science to solve real-world problems.
“As a member of the LabXchange team, I’ve supported translation efforts in a number of languages, from Spanish to Polish to isiZulu,” said Ilyana Sawka, outreach and communications manager at LabXchange. “And as a member of the Ukrainian-American community, I’m grateful that we can now provide resources to support Ukrainian educators and learners at a trying time.”