Using Technology to Study Cellular and Molecular Biology
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National Center for Research Resources

Using Technology to Study Cellular and Molecular Biology

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Teacher's Guide

Using the Web Site

The Using Technology to Study Cellular and Molecular Biology Web site is a wonderful tool that can engage student interest in learning, enhance the student’s learning experience, and orchestrate and individualize instruction. The Web site features simulations that articulate with two of this unit’s lessons. To access the Web site, type the following URL into your browser: Click on the link to a specific lesson under Web Portion of Student Activities. If you do not have computer or Internet access, you can use the print-based alternative provided for each Web activity. Text pertaining only to Web-based activities is lightly shaded.

Hardware/Software Requirements

The Web site can be accessed from Apple Macintosh and IBM-compatible personal computers. Links to download the Macromedia Flash plug-in are provided on the Web site’s Getting Started page. This plug-in is required for the activities to function properly. The recommended hardware and software requirements for using the Web site are listed in table below. Although your computer configuration may differ from those listed, the Web site may still be functional on your computer. The most important items in this list are current browsers and plug-ins.

Recommended Hardware/Software Requirements for Using the Web Site*
CPU/Processor (PC Intel, Mac) Pentium III, 600 MHz; or Mac G4
Operating system (DOS/Windows, Mac OS) Windows 2000 or higher; or Mac OS 9 or newer
System memory (RAM) 256 MB
Screen setting 1024 × 768 pixels, 32 bit color
Browser Netscape Communicator 7.1 or Microsoft Internet Explorer 6
Browser settings JavaScript Enabled
Free hard drive space 10 MB
Connection speed 56 kbps modem or high-speed Internet connection
Plug-ins, installed for your Web browser Macromedia Flash Plug-In, version 6 or better; or Apple QuickTime Plug-In, version 6 or better
Audio Sound card with speakers

*For users of screen-reader software, a multichannel sound card such as Sound Blaster® Live!™ is recommended.

Downloading and Installing Macromedia Flash Player

To experience full functionality of the Web site, Macromedia Flash Player, version 6.0 or higher, must be downloaded and installed on the hard drive of each computer that will be used to access the site. The procedure for downloading and installing Macromedia Flash Player is outlined below.

Getting the Most out of the Web Site

Before you use the Web site, or any other piece of instructional software in your classroom, it may be valuable to identify some of the benefits you can expect the software to provide. Well-designed instructional multimedia software can

The ideal use of the Web site requires one computer for each student team. However, if you have only one computer available, you can still use the Web site. For example, you can use a projection system to display the monitor image for the whole class to see. Giving selected students in the class the opportunity to manipulate the Web activities in response to suggestions from the class can give students some of the same autonomy in their learning that they would gain from working in small teams. Alternatively, you can rotate student teams through the single computer station.

Collaborative Groups

Many of the activities in the lessons are designed to be completed by teams of students working together. Although individual students working alone can complete these activities, this strategy will not stimulate the types of student-student interactions that are part of active, collaborative, inquiry-based learning. Therefore, we recommend that you organize collaborative teams of two to four students each, depending on the number of computers available. Students in teams larger than this will have difficulty organizing student-computer interactions equitably. This can lead to one or two students’ assuming the primary responsibility for the computer-based work. Although this type of arrangement can be efficient, it means that some students will not have the opportunity to experience the in-depth discovery and analysis that the Web site was designed to stimulate. Team members not involved directly may become bored or disinterested.

We recommend that you keep students in the same collaborative teams for all the activities in the lessons. This will allow each team to develop a shared experience with the Web site and with the ideas and issues that the activities present. A shared experience will also enhance your students’ perceptions of the lesson as a conceptual whole.

If your student-to-computer ratio is greater than four to one, you will need to change the way you teach the module from the instructions in the lessons. For example, if you have only one computer available, you may want students to complete the Web-based work over an extended time period. You can do this several ways. The most practical way is to use your computer as a center along with several other centers at which students complete other activities. In this approach, students rotate through the computer center, eventually completing the Web-based work you have assigned.

A second way to structure the lessons if you have only one computer available is to use a projection system to display the desktop screen for the whole class to view. Giving selected students in the class the opportunity to manipulate the Web activities in response to suggestions from the class can give students some of the same autonomy in their learning they would have gained from working in small teams.

Web Activities for Students with Disabilities

The Office of Science Education (OSE) is committed to providing access to the Curriculum Supplement Series for individuals with disabilities, including members of the public and federal employees. To meet this commitment, we will comply with the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 508 requires that individuals with disabilities who are members of the public seeking these materials will have access to and use of information and data that are comparable to those provided to members of the public who are not individuals with disabilities. The online versions of this series have been prepared to comply with Section 508.

If you use assistive technology (such as a Braille reader or a screen reader) and the format of any material on our Web sites interferes with your ability to access the information, please let us know. To enable us to respond in a manner most helpful to you, please indicate the nature of your accessibility problem, the format in which you would like to receive the material, the Web address of the requested material, and your contact information.

Contact us at

Curriculum Supplement Series
Office of Science Education
National Institutes of Health
6100 Executive Blvd., Suite 3E01 MSC 7520
Bethesda, MD 20892-7520

Using Technology to Study Cellular and Molecular Biology 508-Compliant Web Activities
Lesson For Students with Hearing Impairment For Students with Sight Impairment
Lesson 2, both activities No special considerations are required.

There is no equivalent alternative to these activities for students with sight impairments. Students should be involved in the group discussions of these activities and be asked for their perspective.

Supervision is recommended.

Lesson 3, Parts 1 and 3 No special considerations are required.

Students using screen-magnification or screen-reading software can choose an alternate, text-based version of the activity. The content of the alternate activity is equivalent to the original’s, but it’s in a text format. The activity is based on the print version of the lesson. Images within the reference manual are kept to a minimum. The print version of the activity should be kept handy for reference.

Note: Students using a screen magnifier may prefer the original version of the activity.

When the activity loads, students press a button to proceed to the original version or the screen-reader-friendly version of the activity.

Use the “Teacher Administration” link to generate login codes for your students. Use "techadmin" as the user name and "admin" as the password. You will need one code for each student using this version of the activity. You may request up to 100 codes at one time.

The “Progress Map” at the bottom of each page keeps track of each student’s progress. If a student closes the activity and returns later, he will resume where he left off. The last page of the activity provides a summary of all the student’s answers. To edit their responses, students can use the Progress Map to return to any page they have completed.

The computer the students use must be linked to a printer.

Supervision is recommended.

Lesson 3, Part 2 No special considerations are required. This activity has been incorporated into the print version of Lesson 3.

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