BIOLOGY STUDENT WORKBENCH: AN INQUIRY-BASED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT FOR PRE-SERVICE TEACHER EDUCATION

Samuel S. Donovan,* Kathleen Greene**
*Department of Biology
**Department of Education
Beloit College
Beloit, WI 53511

Umesh Thakkar, Bertram C. Bruce, Eric Jakobsson
National Center for Supercomputing Applications
Department of Curriculum & Instruction
Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, IL 61820

 

Sponsored by:

Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology, Department of Education
Illinois State Board of Education
National Science Foundation

 

The BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the Department of Education at Beloit College, and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois-Urbana have recently joined forces to support the use of the molecular sequence and structure data in pre-service teacher education programs.

Biology is quickly becoming an "information-driven" science. As such, biological research often involves constructing meaning using the vast amounts of information compiled from various experiments in the laboratory and observations in the field. In one striking example of these changes, the integration of information technology and molecular biology has created a new discipline, bioinformatics. The computational analysis of molecular sequence data is not only changing the ways that biologists approach problems, it is changing the very questions they are able to ask. As more and more biological research takes advantage of the publicly available molecular data it is important that the next generation of science teachers recognize the ways that these resources can be used to support student inquiry.

This project will extend existing curricular projects which take advantage of the Biology Workbench <http://bioquest.org/bioinformatics/>, to specifically address a pre-service teacher audience. We will emphasize the integration of molecular analysis tools into teacher preparation programs as a means to support the use of an inquiry based approach to science education. Initially, the project will focus on exploring ways to integrate the Biology Workbench resources into various aspects of the teacher preparation programs at Beloit College and the University of Illinois. We are also seeking collaborations with other institutions and faculty interested in using the analysis of molecular data to support student inquiry.

For more information about the project please contact:

Kathy Greene
Department of Education
Beloit College
greene@beloit.edu
 
Umesh Thakkar
National Center for Supercomputing Applications
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
uthakkar@ncsa.uiuc.edu
 

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