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Abstract Detail


Colloquia: SERNEC: Four years of development of a herbarium Research Coordination Network

Kirchoff, Bruce K. [1], Baskauf, Steven J. [2].

Who, I ask, in their right mind would condemn a picture? - The effective use of standardized plant images in keys and instructional software.

Standardized images have long been used in many areas of biology, but are uncommon in plant systematics. Sets of standardized images can serve many of the purposes of physical herbarium specimens, and can be made widely available through electronic delivery methods. Two examples of the effective use of standardized images are visual keys, and active-learning instructional software. Visual keys can be created with standardized images, and can be delivered through the internet or on paper. Traditional, terminology-based keys do not take advantage of the forte of visual experts, pattern recognition. Visual keys, on the other hand, are primarily image-based identification guides that make little or no use of terminology. At each decision point the user is presented with two or more sets of standardized photographs of some plant character (Taxon 56: 479, 2007). Each photo set leads the user to the next level of the key, until he or she is asked to choose a final identification. Standardized photographs can also be used as effective teaching tools. Woody Plants of the Southeastern United States: A Field Botany Course on CD is a cross-platform, active-learning program that teaches plant identification with standardized images. The program helps students rapidly master plant identification by adapting techniques from the cognitive psychology literature to the task of species recognition. It is the only program that allows students to learn in the same visual mode used by experts. The new version, 2.0, allows instructors to create customized scripts that define study sessions for students. Version 2.0 also tracks student progress by way of output files that record studentsí grades. The scripting functions allows the creation of effective homework assignments. A classroom test of the software has shown it to be 18.5% (p = 0.000) more effective then standard study methods.

Broader Impacts:


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1 - University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Biology, PO Box 26170, Greensboro, NC, 27402-6170, USA
2 - Vanderbilt University, Department of Biological Sciences, VU Station B 351634, Nashville, Tennesee, 37235

Keywords:
teaching
learning
characters
woody plants
photographs
keys
Active Learning.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: C3
Location: Ballroom C/Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Time: 1:45 PM
Number: C3004
Abstract ID:139


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