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John R. Cannon, Editor and Publisher
David T. Crowther, Associate Editor and Publisher
University of Nevada, Reno
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Joseph P. Apkan
Saint Joseph's College email@example.com
A conflict exists in the nation's schools over the use of animals in the science classrooms. Animal protection advocates state that what is learned by dissection could be more effectively learned by other means. Some science educators state that dissection does not constitute abuse; they are educationally justified While this issue is fraught with intractable ethical and philosophical traditions and no research study or data can resolve such issues, one ethical implication of the debate is that if dissection is used in American schools, it should be used for maximum educational benefit. This quantitative study was conducted to examine whether computer simulation of dissection is as effective as the traditional hands-on laboratory method of dissection when used as a delivery technique for the understanding of the physiological and anatomical systems of earthworm either before or after dissection. A comparison was made of the knowledge gained between the experimental condition and the control condition. It was found that the experimental condition that used interactive computer simulation of dissection before actual hands-on dissection experienced greater gain on a paper and pencil test of knowledge than did the control condition that dissected earthworms by hand.
The purpose of this article is to present four content specific vignettes or open cases that can be used for research studies and in methods classes to foster conceptual understanding on teaching and learning. A discussion of why and how to use vignettes and the importance of content specific vignettes are presented. Two chemistry and two physics vignettes are described and included as appendices. In addition, tables are provided that give the pedagogical and content issues and problems associated with the vignettes. Correct content statements are also included so that these can be used in research studies and methods classes. Suggestions and implications are included to guide researchers in the potential areas of implementation.
I argue that creating a scientifically literate public requires sensibly paced, experience-orientated courses that allow students to develop a genuine scientific understanding of a limited number of significant scientific ideas by a synthesis of their own experience and thought. These courses need to be coupled with a conscious effort to bring more articulate historical, philosophical and sociological content directly into science courses so the students can development a sense of how concepts and theories originate, how they come to be accepted and how they connect with experiences other than the ones alluded to in traditional textbooks.