Monday, February 28, 2011

Prezi practice practicals

In my blog The Electronic Professor, I recently wrote about the Prezi alternative to PowerPoint presentations.

In a nutshell, Prezi creates large, complex sets of information that you can zoom into either at will or in a preplanned way.

As I was exploring around the Prezi presentations that have been made public, I found a great idea . . . why not use Prezi to create practice lab practicals?

My students always find it hard to get ready for practicals.  Obviously, part of the issue is the massive amount of content that we ask them to learn.  But, perhaps more imporatantly, it's hard for them to imagine the kinds of questions that they are likely to get. We set up "practice practicals" in our open lab when we can . . . and that helps a lot.  But wouldn't it be great to have an easy to access online place our students can practice for their praticals?

Well, Rob Swatski at the York Campus of Harrisburg Area Community College (York, PA) has already cracked this egg!

Take a look at his Virtual Lab Exam for muscles in A&P 1.

You have to start clicking around and get the feel for how this practice lab practical is set up . . . but once you have the hang of it, it's amazing.  You can see how students can practice the content and also get a feel for EXACTLY the kinds of things they'll be asked to do on their practical.

Another idea that Rob came up with is shown in this presentation that introduces the microscope.  Rob uses the particular characteristics of Prezi to full advantage to produce a resource that is useful for both teaching and learning in the A&P lab.

Imagine how useful this sort of thing can be for
  • online tests and quizzes for labs
  • exploring large, complex anatomical structures in a lecture class
  • virtual dissections
  • student presentations
  • zooming in on tissues or bone markings while teaching histology
Let's hear YOUR ideas!

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