Department of Applied Biology
University of Hull
Target audience: First year biology undergraduates.
ClarisWorks is an integrated package for the Macintosh range of personal computers. The modules included are a wordprocessor, spreadsheet with graphing tools, database, paint type and draw type graphics and communications. Training in the use of commercially available packages need not be subject specific but the close association with subject content allows undergraduates to develop transferable skills in the context of realistic and definable educational objectives.
In their first year undergraduates are introduced to the skills of data analysis and presentation using ClarisWorks. They receive a data set, which is a series of time lapse photographs of growing pea roots. The roots have been marked every 1mm with a spot of ink, and photographs taken every 4 hours for 24 hours. The undergraduates have to record and tabulate these data using the spreadsheet module. They then investigate any underlying growth patterns using the graphing option. Having decided on their interpretation of the data, they then use the paint, draw and word processing modules to write a report of the experiment in the traditional style (Abstract, Introduction, Results, Conclusions etc.).
The use of ClarisWorks greatly facilitates this process because of the ease with which data can be tabulated, corrected and investigated for relationships, and the ease with which a group of undergraduates can compose, discuss and then modify their report using the word processor.
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