Virtual biology: how well can it replace authentic activities?

Mary Peat, Charlotte Taylor


One of the debates within biology teaching is the appropriate use of animals and plants to enhance the learning experience. In particular, significant amounts of time are often set aside within curricula for relevant practical experiences, including dissections, drawings, microscopy, experimentation and discussions with peers and staff. An increasing number, albeit a minority of students are, for many reasons, disinclined to handle biological materials, while financial cutbacks are making the provision of them more difficult. This makes teaching the discipline using practical activities increasingly difficult.

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