Is virtually dissecting a frog the same thing as actually dissecting a frog? No.
I encountered this very-well designed site today: http://www.froguts.com and was starting to write a “gee, that’s cool” blog post. But the more I played with the site, the more I thought, “um, no.”
1. The voice is computer generated. This is unnecessary and distracting.
2. The lesson is very guided and very structured. This is a good thing, but I think it hinders curiosity. I found myself wanting to poke under the organs and look under the eyelids as the program was explaining them. In normal dissections, I think there is a lab manual that kids follow.
3. You can’t easily move and zoom. There is this gentle way of moving up, down, left, and right, but I want to zoom way in and move more quickly around my frog. Kind of linked to natural curiosity.
4. Using the tools is kind of silly - “select the scalpel tool and cut along the thorax” it’s artificial, and doesn’t fit the digital nature of the lesson. Why pretend to cut? I don’t think it adds anything to the process.
5. When the program asks you to find certain organs, the activity turns into a “find the thing to click on”.
6. The whole thing is kind of linear and “click to go forward”. I felt like a kid could move forward through this with out any thinking.
7. Biology is gooey and messy. I think the problem of virtual dissections is students miss this aspect when doing it virtually.
If a school couldn’t afford real dissections, this would be great. But I am officially “meh” about this.
What do you think of virtual dissections?
Here’s a great page with a bunch of virtual dissections on it (thank you Joan!)
Published on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 (9 years, 3 weeks, and 5 days ago). Posted in: Educational Tech