Frog Dissection Goes Digital in High Schools
High school students in California have turned in their scalpels to go digital. Conservations groups Animal Welfare Institute and Save the Frogs have made a deal with Rancho Verde High School by offering digital anatomy programs in return for giving up the traditional biology assignment of frog dissection in class. The groups are offering similar deals to high schools who are willing to ban dissection for 5 five years.
Digital Frog 2.5 is a virtual program teaching students about anatomy, dissection, and ecology. A virtual scalpel allows students to practice the same cuts they would in class but focuses on the anatomy of the frog by providing comprehensive videos and lessons. The digital program also permits students to practice often without wasting frogs and racking up classroom costs.
Conservation groups argue that using digital dissection lessons is a more humane, cost effective and educational tool for science students. Beyond the virtual scalpel, the Digital Frog 2.5 program offers comprehensive vocabulary, assignments, quizzes, conservation and ecology lessons. Ditching the traditional wet lab frog dissection was found by one study to accomplish the same amount of learning in 44% less time.
While most won’t miss the smell of dead frogs persevered in formaldehyde, some biology experts attest digital programs will never be the same as physically exploring the anatomy of a frog during dissection. Holding an organ will never be the same as seeing one on a computer screen. Despite the debates, Save the Frogs plans to remove dissection from all classrooms by 2014.
In a contest titled “Race to Stop Dissections” Save the Frogs and the Animal Welfare Institute will provide the winning school with money for biology supplies, a full license for Digital Frog 2.5 and a visit from Save the Frogs’ founder Kerry Kriger. Separate from the contest, Save the Frogs is also offering free software to any American private or public school willing to ditch dissection in their biology classrooms for five years.
Via TMCnet and Digital Frog