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Assignment #1:
Review of a web 2.0 application OR Review of an open source software application for possible use in science education

Anthony Fini

February 19, 2013

Assignment 1- Web 2.0 Review

SEYS 753


Name: Zygote Body


1) Brief Description:

 Zygote Body was once known as Google Body. It was a project started by Google labs before they were shut down. Zygote Media Group, Inc., a company founded in 1994 and well known for creating 3D anatomical products, started to maintain Google Body under the name of Zygote Body. Zygote body is a free web application that allows students to interactively explore a full 3D model of a male or female human body.

2) Target Audience:

Zygote body would be useful to elementary and secondary school students. This web application can be used on a basic (elementary) level in order to identify body systems or more specifically certain parts of body systems. In comparison, Zygote body could be used by a more advanced secondary school student in order to identify specific organs, pathways, or bones. The program provides versatility for all levels of students.

3) What is the purpose of the software?  How does it work?

            The purpose of this software is to act as a 3D model of the male and female body. The user can use a series of sliders (vertical or horizontal, depending on the isolation of each body system you would like) on the left side tool bar. Each slider has the ability to control its respective body system by slowly making it transparent. Also, included on the side tool bar are directional buttons and magnification buttons. These tools will allow the user to rotate the 3D model vertically or horizontally 360 degrees. This movement allows investigation of the whole body. In addition, if you wanted to focus on a specific body part you can use the search bar located in the upper right corner of the screen. The user can also control the orientation of the body.

4) Describe the user interface.  Is it easy or difficult to use?  Why or why not?

            The user interface of Zygote Body becomes easier with use and time. In the beginning it takes a little time to get used to what the application has to offer and how to use the different directional buttons. I think in the beginning it may be a little difficult to use because there is not step by step tutorial. Students at the elementary school level looking to explore the body and its systems may find this information to be too detailed and hard to understand. Students at the secondary level may find this application easier to understand and use.

5) Technical requirements.  Does it work on Windows, Apple and Linux?  Are there minimum memory requirements, software that needs to be installed?

Zygote Body is compatible with Windows, Apple, and Linux as long as they run one of the following browsers: Safari, Chrome, Mozilla, and Opera. There are no minimum requirements or software needed to be installed because this is a web application that runs solely through your internet browser. Zygote Body would work better if the computer was up to date and newer because the webGL program taps into the power of the GPU in order to render its 3D graphics.

6) What browsers does it work with?  Does it require Javascript, Java, ActiveX, Flash, Shockwave or plugins?

Zygote Body should work on any webGL enabled browser (Safari, Chrome, Mozilla, and Opera). From my research Zygote Body would run best on an updated version of Chrome or Mozilla. Although compared to its original design (Google Body), Zygote Body runs a bit slower. Zygote body does require both a webGL internet browser and javascript. No other plugins or add on necessary.

7) What are the strengths of this software application?

Zygote Body:

- Is FREE! With quick and easy access via a WebGL enabled browser.

- Provides Human Anatomical information for both genders

- Can be manipulated/tailored to specific Human Anatomical lessons

- Uses anatomically correct visuals and enable students to self-explore body systems at home

- May be used as a great classroom interactive activity/review

8) What are the weaknesses of this software application?

- Although there are no initial requirements for this web application to work, it is important to have an updated PC. (The school provided laptops are too slow to handle this program).

- It could be advanced to become a much greater application which can be used on all levels of education, even college.  

9) Provide at least three examples of how you might use this in your science teaching.

            - First, I would like to use this program as an introduction to the body systems. At first the student would thing this was both cool and interesting. It may seem like a lot of information at once but student would be able to get familiar with the body underneath the skin.

            - Secondly, I could use this application while teaching all of the body systems. Zygote Body would allow me to isolate each body system to point out and identify certain key points. It would add the much needed visual students need to see how all body systems work together.

            - Lastly, students could manipulate this program at home free of charge in order to discover on their own. In addition, students can investigate which systems or parts of systems can be affected but non-threatening.

            - While I teach my body systems, I also like to cover commonly heard of and seen disorders. I could use Zygote Body to show my students what part of the Body System is actually affected.

10) Include any tips for science teachers.

Science teachers should investigate to make sure this program works on school provided computers. Also, science teachers could use this in class on a smartboard in order to enhance classroom discussion and get students involved in the lesson. Students would be able to approach the board and manipulate the program first hand using their hands. The 3D model would be manipulated using their judgment to help explain classroom topics.

11) Any other comments

            Zygote Body does not have a free application for androids or apple products. Zygote body is a great tool but so much more could be done with it. One suggestion would be to include explanations/descriptions of individual parts of body systems, their anatomical positions using anatomical words, and be able to choose a level of difficulty (elementary, secondary, or post-secondary)