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Seattle, WA, United States

Kovarik D.N.,Northwest Association for Biomedical Research | Patterson D.G.,University of Washington | Cohen C.,Cohen Research and Evaluation | Sanders E.A.,University of Washington | And 4 more authors.
CBE Life Sciences Education | Year: 2013

We investigated the effects of our Bio-ITEST teacher professional development model and bioinformatics curricula on cognitive traits (awareness, engagement, self-efficacy, and relevance) in high school teachers and students that are known to accompany a developing interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. The program included best practices in adult education and diverse resources to empower teachers to integrate STEM career information into their classrooms. The introductory unit, Using Bioinformatics: Genetic Testing, uses bioinformatics to teach basic concepts in genetics and molecular biology, and the advanced unit, Using Bioinformatics: Genetic Research, utilizes bioinformatics to study evolution and support student research with DNA barcoding. Pre-post surveys demonstrated significant growth (n = 24) among teachers in their preparation to teach the curricula and infuse career awareness into their classes, and these gains were sustained through the end of the academic year. Introductory unit students (n = 289) showed significant gains in awareness, relevance, and self-efficacy. While these students did not show significant gains in engagement, advanced unit students (n = 41) showed gains in all four cognitive areas. Lessons learned during Bio-ITEST are explored in the context of recommendations for other programs that wish to increase student interest in STEM careers. © 2013 D. N. Kovarik et al.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 155.00K | Year: 2013

The innovation evaluates the feasibility of developing a tablet-based suite of applications that allow students to interrogate relationships between molecular sequences, molecular structures, and their biological functions. One of the most difficult concepts for students to understand is why certain mutations affect the function of a protein and others do not. Students are better able to understand this relationship when they compare molecular structures from different allelic forms of a protein, locate the mutation site, and identify structural changes that occur as a consequence of a mutation. Few students have the opportunity to carry out these kinds of investigations because they lack suitable software tools and their teachers lack both experience and relevant instructional materials. These problems will be addressed by creating a tool kit to support molecular investigations. The tool kit will be designed for tablet-based computers and will contain an application for viewing and manipulating structures, an interactive digital lab manual that supports bioinformatics investigations related to genetic disease, an instructor guide, and a data set with superimposed and annotated structures.

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project relates to the potential in this suite of tools for interesting students in careers related to science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) and in increasing student understanding of the connections between genetics, proteins, and protein function. The ease of interacting with molecular objects through touch with tablet-based computers and the availability of instructional materials that guide students through the process of discovery will lower the barriers to learning about protein structure and genetics and make student-driven investigations possible for a wider group of students in both high school and college courses. The instructor guide will assist instructors in implementing these materials by describing example work-flows and providing guidance in using different types of applications to achieve learning outcomes by helping students carry out these new types of laboratory investigations. The technology developed through this project will generate business opportunities through licensing fees and by providing opportunities to develop additional molecular investigations and learning materials.

Digital World Biology | Entity website

Overview of Genetic Testing Unit The Bio-ITEST genetic testing curriculum is designed for high school students in grades 9-12. In a series of eight lessons, students are introduced to the idea of genetic testing and the implications for managing information about their personal health ...

Digital World Biology | Entity website

The Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) curriculum includes a series of cloning and protein purification experiments using red fluorescent protein (RFP). Fluorescent proteins have become a valuable tool in recent years among scientists in many different fields of biology ...

Digital World Biology | Entity website

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