computer animations

Beverly Brown bjbrown at NAZ.EDU
Fri Dec 3 08:38:13 EST 1999


I can speak to using computer animations in class.  In class evaluations
animations get rave reviews.  They seem to work best when I cover the
material in a lecture format, then show the animations as a summary.
Sometimes if the class still looks a bit confused I will show them a
second time, stopping the animation at potentially confusing points or
elaborating as the animation progresses.  The animations appear to be
especially helpful with 3-dimensional processes such as protein
structure and synthesis, DNA transcription/translation or
meiosis/mitosis.  I recently found a good animation for the separation
of Pangea and think that will also help students to visualize change
over time.

I look for 1) accurate presentation of the material,  2) fairly
sophisticated graphics, and 3) lots of contrast between the background
of the animation and the animation itself.  The latest Raven and Johnson
animations have black backgrounds and on sunny days it is very hard,
even with all the window blinds pulled (not very good since we have no
air conditioning in the classroom) you still can't see very well.

In reviewing class evaluations it is evident that students have a wide
variety of learning styles.  However, it is noteworthy that virtually
all of the students find the animations useful.

Hope this helps!


"J. Monroe" wrote:

> Plant-ed,
> I am posting this not as an ad, but as a request for information
> regarding some plant-educational animations that I was recently made
> aware of that were produced by Larry Jensen from The University of
> Auckland, NZ.  His site
> ( has some still
> images from "The Secret life of Mosses", "The Secret life of Ferns"
> and "The Secret life of Pines" that look quite striking.  Can anyone
> who has seen the videos comment on their merits for the group?
> While we're at it, do people think using computer animations is a
> valuable classroom exercise?  What should we look for when choosing
> them?
> Thanks,
> Jon
>   --------------------------------------------------
>    Jonathan D. Monroe           Associate Professor
>    Department of Biology       office: 540-568-6649
>    MSC 7801                       lab: 540-568-6045
>    James Madison University       fax: 540-568-3333
>    Harrisonburg, VA 22807   email: monroejd at
>   --------------------------------------------------


Beverly J. Brown, Ph.D.                Phone:  716-389-2555
Nazareth College of Rochester       Fax:      716-586-2452
Biology Department                      E-mail: bjbrown at
4245 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14618-3790

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