Review by Emily Pohlonski, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2014

My Experiment

Collaborative scientific social network best for advanced HS students

Subjects & skills
  • Science

  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: Allows users to access current scientific research and communicate with working researchers.

Cons: The site's technology and content are likely too complex for all but the most advanced high school students.

Bottom Line: While not for everyone, this resource can be useful for advanced students conducting their own scientific research.

My Experiment will probably only be useful to high school students asked to design and conduct an experiment themselves. It's not going to be helpful with traditional cookbook labs. That said, IB or AP Science students doing design labs may find it especially helpful to see how others develop their research methods. It could also help students who are working together on extensive research projects.

Students can register for free, but they'll be asked to provide their names and email addresses. As such, be sure to notify parents about students' work on this site; when students register, be sure they don't check the “Make my email public” box.

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My Experiment is a social networking site for scientists. While Facebook users might share photos or funny comments, scientists use My Experiment to share data and methods of research and investigation. Here, researchers create and share scientific workflows, which display every imaginable aspect of an experiment, including scientific procedures, data from the experiment, and resulting publications and presentations. This allows scientists from around the world to learn from one another and build on one another's research. Users can take others' workflows and modify them to make them their own.

This is a wonderful model of scientific communities working together to create understanding. In a classroom setting, however, teachers will want to make considerations for their students' level of understanding, as well as other issues like plagiarism.

At the time of this review, all workflows on My Experiment were from working scientists and college students. While having access to ongoing research can be an incredible experience for students, most of the work will be too advanced for the average high schooler. However, advanced, tech-savvy students writing a report or IB students writing an extended essay in one of the sciences may find the site very helpful for pulling together information from multiple Bioinformatics sites.

My Experiment assumes a certain level of tech and scientific expertise. No tutorials or tips are provided to support high school students or teachers. My Experiment is designed for scientists; it's recommended only for very advanced high school students.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Most students will find the content on the site overwhelming. As a result, it's not very engaging or fun, although it can be fascinating for kids who can understand complex scientific text.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

All scientists, including student scientists, can share their knowledge and understanding as they design and conduct scientific research. This kind of collaboration is an important tenet of the scientific community.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

My Experiment is not designed for high school students; there aren't any tutorials or support tools available to help kids understand and engage in the dense content.

Common Sense Reviewer
Emily Pohlonski Classroom teacher

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