Development of an Online Experiment Platform for High School Biology.
We developed a novel online platform, Rex (Real experiments) that immerses students in a scientific investigative process. Rex is a virtual web-based biological science experiment platform, hosted by real scientists, and uses actual lab experiments that generate real data for students to collect, analyze, and interpret. Seven neuroscience experiments use zebrafish and rats as model systems to study the effects of drugs such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), caffeine, alcohol, and cigarette smoke, which are of interest to high school students. We carried out a small field-test of Rex in a variety of high school biology classrooms (e.g., standard, honors, AP, anatomy/physiology) to obtain student and teacher feedback about the implementation and usability of the program. We also assessed student situational interest (SI) to determine whether the Rex experiment captured students' attention, and whether it was an enjoyable and meaningful experience. Overall, students reported a moderate level of SI after participating in the Rex experiments. Situational interest did not differ across teachers, class section, class level, or the type of experiment. In addition, we present details of the technical issues encountered in the classroom, and we provide guidance to readers who may want to use the resource in their classrooms.
Blondel, DV; Sansone, A; Rosenberg, J; Godin, EA; Yang, BW; Jaglom-Kurtz, LT; Linnenbrink-Garcia, L; Schwartz-Bloom, RD
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