Virtual Frog Dissection APP - Assignment #1 


Frog

After some thorough internet research, I have decided to choose a Web 2.0 app called Virtual Dissection.

URL:  Virtul Frog Dissection

The app, Virtual Dissection, helps students to visually learn about the typical frog dissection without actually dissecting a real frog.  It was developed by Punflay Incorporated.

Virtual Dissection targets the following audience: students from 7 to 9th grade. (12 to 15 yrs of age).   The site targets this age range because it provides interactive links to the app, animations and other links that cater to junior high school level learning.   

The purpose of this app is to facilitate students in comprehending the various anatomical parts of the typical bullfrog.  The dissection not only involves the frog, but requires the tools to actual dissect the frog.   

The user interface for this tool is quite simple and is very user friendly.  Steps are easily explained in a chronological manner so students do not become easily lost.  There are also hints along the way and neat facts as the virtual dissection is in progress.

Virtual Dissection is available on Windows, Apple and Linux.  There are neither minimal memory requirements nor is there installation or downloading required for this app.
Virtual Dissection requires Adobe Flash Player (for Microsoft users) in order to run a variety of the animations involved with the tool. (Adobe Acrobat Plug-in 10.1.5.33.) It works with browsers such as: Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Mozilla Firefox.    

       Virtual Dissection has the following strengths:

         a simple user interface and is thus very user friendly

         constant and frequent updates with more science material from the developer

         it contains an abundance of interactive animations to guide students

         clearly states the objectives/mission of the tool at the bottom of the page

         pictures and notes can be easily printed

 

Virtual Dissection has the following weaknesses:

         it is NOT free; it costs anywhere from $2.99 to $4.99.  This depends on what provider one is using.

         advertisements appear sometimes during parts of the dissection.  This may cause a short distraction to students.  

There are at least three ways that Virtual Dissection can be applied to classroom teaching:

i.)                  It can be used in the lab to introduce the idea of how dissections work and can show students certain precautions before actual dissections

ii.)                Students who may feel uncomfortable dissecting a frog can use this at home instead.  They can learn a lot from this and is basically the same as dissecting a real frog.

iii.)              It can be used as a quiz/test after the real dissection has been performed by students.  It can show how much students have learned about how to dissect a frog and to see if they learned about certain anatomical parts of the frog.

Tips - Before using Web 2.0 tools, such as Get Body Smart, ensure the following:

          That the application is age appropriate for the grade level and subject being taught

         That the tool being used does not require excess time in order to access, such as registration or software downloading (This could lead to loss of academic learning time if not checked beforehand and more work for the educator.)

         Make sure the Web 2.0 application being used parallels with material that you want your students to understand or be focused on (If not, sometimes these tools are either missing essential material you want kids to know or vice versa. For example, there maybe excess material that may be a distraction to students using Virtual Dissection; this can take them down a wrong path that leads to confusion.

         If students are asked to use Web 2.0 sources at home by the instructor, ensure the source is accessible to all providers such as Microsoft and Apple. 

         Students should be asked to read about the policies of the website in order to keep their digital learning safe and legal

Smart

O  Other comments:

This assignment made me more aware of what it means for a digital source to be Web 2.0 material.  The internet is truly a powerful source that could lead to better instructional strategies in science education; it could be very effective when applied strategically in the science classroom. It does not have always be a game or videos that make student learns, but even something such as a Web 2.0 blog could be just as impacting on student learning.

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