Learning About Genetic Inheritance Through Technology-Enhanced Instructionby: Michelle Williams, Joi Merritt, Amanda Opperman, Jakob Porter, and Kyle Erlenbeck

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One approach that has shown potential for teaching genetics to middle school students is the use of technology-enhanced instruction, which may lead to increased visualizations. This article describes how a technology-enhanced module helped middle school students gain a more complete understanding of heredity through engaging them in online investigations.

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  • on Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:10 PM

The article “Learning About Genetic Inheritance Through Technology-Enhanced Instruction” written by Michelle Williams, Joi Merritt, Amanda Opperman, Jakob Porter, and Kyle Erlenbeck is an article of merit because it explains why genetics is a topic of importance, it relates genetics to real-world examples, and it provides teachers with an outline of a unit for genetics and access to free, online, research-tested inquiry science units related to the topic. Williams et al. (2012) shares, “Genetics is an increasingly important topic in today’s society, and one that permeates our lives on many levels” (p. 70). Students, teachers, and society are repeatedly exposed to the topic of genetics via television shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, voting for political issues on stem-cell research, and the inheritance of disease and disorders through heredity (Williams et al., 2012, p. 70). Additionally, national science standards have declared the importance of genetics for all grade levels. The article explains that online environments enhance traditional teaching instruction by providing students with a variety of resources that would not typically be available in the average classroom (Williams et al., 2012, p. 70). I found this article to be beneficial to me because I am a special education teacher, which means I work with a diverse group of students in my Co-teach Life Science classes as well as my Resource class. This article introduced me to the Web-based Inquiry Science Environment (WISE 4). Not only does the article tell me that the development of the From Genotype to Phenotype module is available on WISE, but it also shared that a navigation system has been created to scaffold students through the scientific process. Specifically, utilized features consisting of simulations, interactive activities, and online embedded assessment questions are available to enhance student learning and monitor student progress (Williams et al., 2012, p. 70). This is great for students in my classroom because instead of them taking notes and reading the text to learn about the topic, they will have the opportunity to work through modules that offer online simulations with virtual interactions that will show them possible phenotypes and genotypes of offspring of parents. I can also monitor student progress through the embedded assessments provided online. The article also shares that I can individualize and tailor instruction to my students. With the Web-based Inquiry Science Environment (WISE 4), my fellow science educators can utilize this in their classrooms to enhance student learning as well. For students that grasp the current concepts, they can move ahead to other topics, review topics they struggle with, or review old topics to prepare for the IOWA Science test we have to take in the Spring and the upcoming Science Benchmark. Williams et al. (2012) shares, “These assessments also allow teachers to spend more one-on-one time with students who are struggling with the material while students who are progressing at a faster rate work at their own pace using the assessments and online simulations as their source of learning” (p. 70). The article shares that the From Genotype to Phenotype module is covered over nine sections or activities. I like that the program offers teachers what should be happening each day, and it even gives teachers ideas of what they can do if all students do not have access to a computer. Teachers need support in helping the students understand the complexity of the topic of genetics. The WISE genetic-inheritance unit seems to provide middle school students with the opportunities they need to fully understand heredity by offering them interactive online tools as well as ideas that will enhance the average classroom lecture. It also seems students will be better prepared for future lessons related to genetics in upper-grade levels.


  • on Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:51 AM

This article is an overview of the online resource the Web-based Inquiry Science Environment (WISE 4) which allows teacher in middle and high school to develop or access online materials for their classes. This article talks about the online module called “From Genotype to Phenotype”. The reader learns about the benefits of online applications such as this as well as a walk through this particular genetic-inheritance unit.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

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