Biology Education Page of Jing Gao

Web Review

1. Short description of the Web 2.0 application, open source software application, or app: is a Web 2.0 application that gives its users the ability to draw and share pictures, diagrams, and texts. This application displays pictures and texts in real time. Finished drawings can be saved and embedded. In addition, this application allows input from multiple users so it is useful for collaborative work.

2. Describe the target audience for this software: The target audience for this application is anyone who wants to quickly share images with others or anyone who wants to collaborate with others by producing images. In an educational setting, both teachers and students can find this application useful to enhance learning.

3. What is the purpose of the software? How does it work?: The purpose of this application is for teachers to quickly share a visual with students and for students to work together producing a visual. This software works like Microsoft Paint. For instance, there are symbols for producing lines and shapes and buttons that produce different colors.

4. Describe the user interface. Is it easy or difficult to use? Why or why not?: This application is easy to use. On the left hand side of the page are symbols and buttons that the user can click on to create images. These symbols and buttons produce lines and shapes of various sizes and colors. On the right hand side of the page is the screen that shows in real time the images being produced. On the bottom of the page is a box where the user can enter words to communicate with other users. As described, the layout of the page is simple and easy to read. As a matter of fact, it took me no more than 5 minutes to learn to use this application to create images.

5. Technical requirements. Does it work on Windows, Apple and Linux? Are there minimum memory requirements, software that needs to be installed?:This application works on Windows, Apples and Linux. No installation or plug-in is needed, and there are also no minimum memory requirements. However, I noticed that the application did not work when I tried to open it on my Ipad Mini.

6. What browsers does it work with? Does it require JavaScript, Java, ActiveX, Flash, Shockwave or plugins: This application works on all the common browsers, such as Internet Explorer and Firefox. No, it does not require JavaScript, Java, ActiveX, Flash, Shockwave, or any other plugin.

7. What are the strengths of this software application?: This software has several strengths. First, it is very user-friendly and easy to use. The symbols and buttons used to produce images are shaped or color-coded to denote their functions (ex: a circle symbol produces circles or ovals). Second, the software produces images in real time, so it allows for quick visualization and sharing of the images. Third, images can be saved as links, a feature that again makes it possible for quick visualization and sharing of images. Finally, the software allows multiple users to work on images so it is a useful collaborative tool in the classroom.

8. What are the weaknesses of this software application?: This application is really useful and has numerous strengths. The only weakness I can pinpoint is that this application does not allow for easy drawing of complex images. Using the mouse and the touchpad as the principal input devices, I found it very difficult to draw intricate objects. It was much easier to draw simple shapes and lines.

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

10. Include any tips for science teachers: Even though this application is easy to use, teachers should not assume that all students are equally adept at using computers. Students from low-income families may not have access to computers at home so they may need more time and training to become comfortable with using the application. When using the application for the first time in class, teachers should demonstrate for the class the creation of an image and the other features of this application.

11. Any other comments: I would definitely use this application in my classroom to facilitate instructional delivery and improve student learning. I especially appreciate that this application allows students to do collaborative work.