MCGUINNESS*, C; WOODIN, S; Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia; Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia: Drosophila and BioLogica: A match made in Heaven or Hell?
This research is part of a continuing study on the effectiveness of scaffolding student learning in the concepts of Mendelian genetics by the use of a hypermodel computer software program developed by Concord Consortium, BioLogica. BioLogica uses an interactive approach in helping students to assimilate the abstract concepts of Mendelian genetics. This study is a small-scale design study conducted in demographically diverse, randomly selected undergraduate introductory biology laboratory classrooms. This initial study used BioLogica as a supplement to the bench science laboratory exercise using Drosophila. The experimental classrooms used the BioLogica program as a scaffold to their learning. We report on the initial findings of the experimental classrooms as compared to the control classrooms. All students took an introductory biology content knowledge pre- and post-test. Open-ended questions were also used as a means to spur discussion within the genetics portion of the laboratory. The comparative analysis utilized measures of achievement, engagement, and conceptual change. The preliminary findings suggest that the experimental students outperformed the control group on several aspects (mitosis/meiosis, Mendelian genetics) as well as questions dealing with higher order thinking (application).