Methodological Issues Concerning the Use of Smart Board within the Biology Lessons

Abstract

Within the biology lessons, knowing the secrets of nature by the secondary school and high school students can be realized through direct observation of processes and phenomena in the laboratory or in the natural environment near the school, and with the aid of computer. Interactive presentation of new knowledge by means of an educational software can also be achieved if the interactive electronic board (also called “intelligent/smart board”) is used. The paper will present how to use some 3D models and videos existing on the Platform mozaWeb within the biology lessons. It also proposes the mode of performing a didactic activity within some biology lessons in the secondary school school. Thus, at the 6th grade will be exemplified how to use videos, when applying heuristic conversation and learning through discovery, within some lessons regarding various bird species. At the 7th grade will be exemplified how to use the 3D models at different moments of lessons on the skeletal system and respiratory system, by applying various methods such as observation, heuristic conversation, demonstration, problem solving, etc.

Keywords: Platform mozaWebbiology lessondidactical methodsvideos3D modelsdidactic strategies

Introduction

1.1.Problem Statement and Research Questions

Computer, laptop, tablet and smartphone connected to the Internet, are working tools that can be

used easily at any time by each person who has digital skills. As pointed out by Cojocariu, Lazăr, Nedeff

& Lazăr, “the ability to use a computer connected to a network” “offer the possibility to learn from

anywhere, anytime, in any rhythm, with any means”, existing many terms that designate this as follows:

“online learning, open learning, web-based learning, computer-mediated learning, blended learning, m-

learning” (Cojocariu, Lazăr, Nedeff & Lazăr, 2014).

In educational practice they are considered modern means of teaching that can be used by both the

teacher and student within the educational process conducted typically in classrooms / laboratories

equipped for various school subjects / computer labs, within the education institutions, or in the form of

distance education. Both within the formal and informal education, and in the leisure time, this tools can

be used also as a source of documentation and access to information.

Biology teacher can select and access within the lesson, or only at certain times of it, various

educational software. Some of these are part of the laboratory equipment that can be found in school,

while others can be purchased or used free of charge, from the Internet. The last category include the

electronic manuals and digital materials available on the mozaWeb online platform

(https://www.mozaweb.com). These can be used by both actors in the educational process, both at school

and at home, through one of the working tools mentioned above.

The research results have answered the following questions: What teaching methods could be

applied throughout the biology lesson, where the teacher chooses to use the images or 3D models existing

on the mozaWeb platform? What strategy could choose the teacher to conduct the lesson, when using the

“intelligent/smart board” and various digital materials offered by the online platform mentioned earlier?

1.2.Purpose of the Study and Scientific Objectives

Modernization of education requires change and continuous improvement of methods and means used

in the didactic activity carried out with the students. Given that the computerized information system plays a

crucial role in optimizing the school activity, in our research we were aiming at highlighting how some

videos and 3D models existing on the mozaWeb online platform can be used, by the aid of “intelligent/smart

board”, in the lessons of biology with different themes.

In carrying out the research we considered the following objectives:

identification of some videos and 3D models existing on the mozaWeb online platform, that can be

used both by the teacher, for the understanding and acquiring by the students of the knowledge of

biology planned to be studied in secondary school, and by students, within the study carried out

independently at home;

description of the ways to apply some didactic methods, where the teacher uses the “intelligent board”

for presenting throughout the lesson some digital materials available on the mozaWeb online platform;

proposing some didactic strategies for carrying out some biology lessons, that can be used by the

teacher, when choosing for integration into the lesson of the digital material mentioned above.

Paper Theoretical Foundation and Related Literature

As mentioned by Soare, the new technology “influences the design of educational programs

addressed to individuals in the formal or non-formal contexts where they act and live”. This “favors the

creating of a new context for learning” (Soare, 2013, pp.521-522). The author mentioned above consider

that the learning contexts must be reconsidered and reorganized, and training strategies need to be

rethought and reinvented. Within the biology lessons, knowing the secrets of nature by the secondary school and high school

students can be realized through direct observation of processes and phenomena in the laboratory or in the

natural environment near the school, and with the aid of computer.

When they are used, “computers, servers, software, other technology of information

communication devices”, but also various methods such as “the independent and systematic observation,

the experiment, the simulation, the demonstration, the modelling”, as precisely stated by Ciobanu, within

the lesson is applied a “computerized strategy” (Ciobanu, 2008, p. 121). Taking into consideration the

teaching means (info-biology labs, electronic platforms or special software programs and multi-media

labs), Iancu pointed out the need of carefully selection of methods and didactic tools in such way to

“harmoniously combine traditional approaches with heuristic strategies and multi-media equipment”

(Iancu, 2014, pp. 1500-1503). Iancu warns on the need of alternating teaching activities in which is used

the computer, with other activities in which should be applied techniques specific to biology, so as to

achieve also the “psychomotor objectives of the current curricula” (Iancu, 2015, pp. 76-77).

As mentioned by Lazăr, Măţă, Ifrim, Mateian & Lazăr, educational software and technologies that

are used in the educational process “represent a powerful combination between pedagogical methodology

and information technology and when are used as a support for teaching and learning activities, may

bring to them a deep interactive character” (Lazăr, Măţă, Ifrim, Mateian & Lazăr, 2013, p. 3396).

Among the educational software used for studying biology, produced by specialized companies,

we mention the collection of interactive lessons realized by Siveco Romania, the company that developed

the AeL eLearning platform, the INTUITEXT collection realized by Softwin, and more recently, the

digital materials - text, images, videos and 3D models - existing on the mozaWeb online platform.

The AeL collection of biology lessons is made for 5th-12th grades and may be used only at school,

in the computer lab. The two CD-ROMs that include INTUITEXT collection of lessons can be used for

teaching and learning biology concepts both in the lessons conducted at secondary schooland high

school, and at home, for the individual study. If the “smart/intelligent board” it is used, the teacher can

use a software for the interactive presentation of new knowledge, and the lessons can be held in the

classroom. “The advantages of using this means of teaching, compared to exclusive use of the computer,

consists in the possibility of writing or drawing on the blackboard, using the set of special pencils, as well

as the realization of annotations, comments, additions, even on the document accessed, via markers,

either by the teacher or the student” (Petruţa, 2009, p. 164). In this case, besides the teaching methods

used with ICT (Information and Communication Technologies), can also be used the “heuristic

conversation, debate, problem solving, brainstorming, exercise, explanation” (Petruţa, 2010, p.169).

Methodology

In order to achieve the purpose of our research, we analyzed the content of digital materials provided

by mozaWeb online platform, given the content of biology current programs designed for middle school,

as well as the scientific content of some school texbooks.

Results and Discussion

The computer “help the teacher to teach and the students to learn, but can not ensure complete

substitution of the two main actors of the stage of school” (Stanciu, 20 15,p.141). Taking into

consideration this statement, we will present below the way by which the teacher can use within the

lessons of Biology certain digital materials that he/she can download free of charge from the mozaWeb

online platform, if he/she create an account, using a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone connected to

the Internet. This way, the teacher and students can analyze certain images, videos, and 3D models before

starting the lesson, they can determine if the content of these teaching/learning tools meets the

requirements of the curriculum and school textbook developed for a particular grade, as well as to those

related to age particularities and individual students. Thus, the teacher can choose the moment when

he/she will integrate in lesson one or more digital materials, using the ‘smart board”, will choose the

teaching methods that he/she will use in that sequence of lesson, and will also decide on how students

will work. In other words, the teacher will select a certain teaching strategy in designing the lesson, which

will be applied subsequently in the process of teaching.

Thus, analyzing the wide range of biology videos existing on the mozaWeb online platform, and

the chapter “Vertebrates” from the textbook designed for 6th grade, we found the possibility of using the

following digital materials when studying the classes of animals:

fish – carp, sharks;

amphibians – lake frog;

reptiles – freshwater turtle, grass snake, etc.;

birds – dove, mallard, pink flamingo, pelican, dark seagull, the great owl, snowy owl, etc.;

mammals – brown bear, pink panda, fallow deer, wolf, wild boar, lion, elephant, giraffe, rhino, gorilla, polar regions fauna, etc.

During the lesson on “Birds of prey”, at 6th grade, after transmission of knowledge regarding

goshawk, the teacher can ask students to pay attention to two videos presented on the “smart board”: the

Eurasian eagle owl (Fig. 1) and the snowy owl (Fig. 2).

Figure 1: Fig. 1. The Eurasian eagle owl
Fig. 1. The Eurasian eagle owl
See Full Size >

(https://www.mozaweb.com/Extra-Videos-The_Eurasian_eagle_owl-210603)

Figure 2: Fig. 2. The snowy owl
Fig. 2. The snowy owl
See Full Size >

(https://www.mozaweb.com/Extra-Videos-The_snowy_owl-209512)

Next, the class will be divided into three major groups (A, B, C), each one comprising sub-groups

(3-4 students), which will have the same working task. Group A will have to determine similarities and

differences between goshawk and the great owl, Group B will have to indicate similarities and differences

between snowy owl and goshawk, and Group C will have to find the similarities and differences between

the great owl and the snowy owl. Later, after the teacher together with the students will analyze the

answers given by each group, will be addressed the following questions to all students in the class: Why

these birds are called birds of prey? What is the birds of prey feed? What adaptations they presents

correlated to their mode of feeding? What organs are well developed in these birds? Why gizzard is less

developed? Thus, guided by the teacher, the students will discover inductively the general characteristics

of the birds of prey.

To 7th grade, within the lesson on “The bones and joints”, the teacher can use the 3D model

“Human skeleton” (Fig. 3). The lesson can be held into a classroom / computer lab equipped with a

“smart board”.

Figure 3: Fig. 3. Human skeleton
Fig. 3. Human skeleton
See Full Size >

(https://www.mozaweb.com/Extra-3D_animations-Human_skeleton-123127)

By accessing the icon “skeleton”, the teacher can demonstrate and explain its components to the

students. In the images presented, the students will observe the skull, spine, bones of chest (breastbone, ribs), bones of shoulder girdle (clavicle and scapula) bones of pelvic girdle (hip bones), the upper limb

bones (humerus, radius, and ulna) and lower limb bones (femur, tibia, fibula, and foot bones).

By accessing the icon “Animation” the students can observe the image that can be rotated of the

human skeleton, from the bones of skull to the bones in the foot.

Taking into consideration the fact that students have studied in the 6th grade the type skeleton of a

mammal, they are asked to compare two skeletons, having at their disposal the pad or image taken from

the Internet with the rabbit skeleton. By identifying the bones of the head, chest, spine, bones of both

belts and bones of limb, and comparing their form in both mammals, students will discover by analogy

the existence of the same bones that make up both skeletons, but have certain features.

Next, students will be asked to solve the following situation problem: Given the particularities of

the rabbit and human skeleton, how can you explain that man walks upright on two legs (in vertical

position), and rabbit moves and run in horizontal position? What causes do you consider that have led to

the peculiarities of the human skeleton?

After resolving the situation problem with a help from the teacher, through various helping

questions, will be accessed the icon “Game. Put the bones in place”. The image, that can be rotated,

shows an incomplete skeleton. Near it are placed the missing bones, for example the skull, ulna, humerus,

bones of the chest, spine, femur, bones of the hand, and foot bones. Clicking on a bone among those

mentioned above, it can be moved and placed in their right position in the skeleton. With this game,

students will notice the missing bones and their position in the human skeleton. Once all the bones were

placed correctly, the game resumes, being presented other bones that must be included in the human

skeleton.

If the lesson will be held in the classroom, students can be taken one by one to the “smart board”

and asked to complete the skeleton with the bone whose position is known. If the biology class will be

held in the computer lab, then the students grouped in pairs will solve the tasks of game.

The same procedure can be used for the next game, entitled “Find the bone”. In this case, it is

mentioned the bone, and students will need to click on the appropriate part of that bone in the human

skeleton.

By solving the tasks of these games, the students can acquire knowledge about the human skeleton

both in the classroom and at home. They will learn to evaluate themselves, given that if case of the

correct placement of a bone in the human skeleton, it turns green, confirming the student's correct answer,

and in case of incorrect assembly, it turns red.

During the lesson on “Breathing”, at the 7th grade, the teacher can use the 3D model “Respiratory

system” (Fig. 4) presented by the aid of “smart board”. By accessing the icon “Respiratory system”, the

teacher can demonstrate and explain the way in which the inhalation and exhalation is realized. Carefully

watching the content of the digital material presented, students will observe the respiratory system

components studied in the previous lesson - nasal cavity, pharynx, trachea, larynx and lungs. They will

also observe changes in the volume of chest during inspiration and expiration, and the change of the

diaphragm position, due to its contraction and relaxation during the two processes.

Figure 4: Fig. 4. Respiratory system
Fig. 4. Respiratory system
See Full Size >

(https://www.mozaweb.com/Extra-3D_animations-Respiratory_system-12049)

Next, the students may be asked to solve the following situation problems:

1.Tetanus causes muscle paralysis, and consequently the suffocation of man. How do you explain

this?

2.Emphysema is a lung disease. Man can inspire, but have difficulty in exhaling. Why?

For students to discover what kind of processes are breathing (respiration) and expiration

(exhalation), the teacher can address the following questions: Knowing that inspiration is achieved by

muscle contraction, and thus with energy consumption, what process is this? But exhalation, which is

achieved by muscle relaxation?

For students to observe the alveolar sacs and gas exchange, the teacher will access one after other

the two icons with these names. The teacher will demonstrate and explain the role of red blood cells in the

transport of respiratory gases.

At the end of the lesson, the teacher can address the following questions: When we yawn (a

prolonged, deep inhalation and sighing or heavy exhalation)? Why we do not yawn during physical

activity? Who intervenes in exhalation? But in forced exhalation? Responding to questions, the students

will understand that people yawn due to the insufficient oxygen going to the brain, and accordingly the

yawning is like a forced inspiration, during the expiration intervening the abdominal muscles in addition

to the elasticity of lungs.

Conclusions

During the biology lessons held within the frameworks of 6th and 7th grade classes, by using the

“smart/intelligent board”, may be used numerous videos and 3D models offered free by the mozaWeb

online platform. These can be accessed both at school and at home, for the individual training of teacher

and student, using a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone connected to the Internet. In designing the

lessons, the teacher may choose different teaching strategies, in which to use, in addition to the digital

materials mentioned, teaching methods that require the students to learn through their own effort, such as:

observation, discovery learning, problem solving, conversation. Also, the activity may be carried out with

the entire class of students, in groups or individually. By the attractiveness of digital materials existing on

this platform, by their color, sound, and mode of presenting information, we think that they can be

successfully used in teaching, when they are presented on the “intelligent board”.

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Publisher

Future Academy

First Online

18.12.2019

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2017.05.02.120

Online ISSN

2357-1330