computer animations

David W. Kramer kramer.8 at OSU.EDU
Fri Dec 3 10:25:23 EST 1999

Jon Monroe wrote:

>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

The criteria depend to some extent on the way the animations will be used.
If they will be played for the class by the instructor to support a
lecture, one must be concerned about the speed of the animation, how well
it plays on a large screen, ease of use for the instructor (easy to cue and
replay, can replay any part vs entire sequence, etc.)

If the animation will be used in an auto-tutorial mode by individual
students, one would be concerned about the medium and the student's access
to that medium (web vs CD vs videotape vs laserdisc), cost of multiple
copies, speed of animation, ease of navigation, level of presentation
(K-12, college, non-major/major, etc.), ability to pause and replay.

For either method of use, the main concern is with content accuracy.  All
of us have seen animations that are strong on animation but weak on
content.  One gets the impression that the author had very strong
computer/animation skills but very little content knowledge.  It's also
important not just to know the science content but to know how to present
it to a learner (pedagogy).  I have not seen Larry Jensen's animations but
look forward to it.  I do know from our conversations that they have
designed the animation sequences to present the information at more than
one level of difficulty.  This would be a step in the right direction
pedagogically.  The test of all this would be to conduct pilot studies with

David W. Kramer, Ph.D.
Asst. Prof. of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology
Ohio State University at Mansfield
1680 University Drive
Mansfield, OH  44906-1547
Phone:  (419) 755-4344      FAX:  (419) 755-4367
e-mail:  kramer.8 at

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