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Abstract Detail

Systematics Section/ASPT

Krings, Alexander [1], Agarwal, Piyush [2], Kirchoff, Bruce [3].

A new, open-access, visual learning tool to promote active learning: Overview and experiences with its application in teaching rare plant identification.

Research in cognitive psychology over the past decades has established that domain experts (no matter whether physics, mathematics, or plant taxonomy) recognize features and patterns not observed by novices.  This understanding has important ramifications for teaching. Studies have shown the importance of developing experiences designed to enhance student recognition of meaningful patterns of information.  Field botany trips can be effective learning tools to teach plant identification because they help expose students to the variation in character states requisite for training their minds to recognize features and patterns like domain experts.  After all, observational repetition in the field played a key role in field botany experts becoming experts in the first place.  However, classroom or homework activities that mimic exposure to variation in the wild can also play an important role in developing expertise. These can even be necessary in cases where field labs are not possible, or where natural variation is not easily demonstrable given time constraints.  The teaching of rare plant identification, targeted for aspiring environmental consultants or agency botanists, is one of these cases.  We here present an open-access, html/javascript-based visual learning tool that facilitates species recognition through active image sorting exercises and discuss experience employing it at the advanced undergraduate and graduate level.  The tool is freely available and is customizable to meet the needs of any activity for which sorting can enhance learning.   

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Related Links:
Image Sort Visual Learning Tool

1 - North Carolina State University, Plant & Microbial Biology, Raleigh, NC, 27695-7612, USA
2 - University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Computer Science, Greensboro, NC, 27402-6170, USA
3 - University Of North Carolina At Greensboro, Department Of Biology, PO BOX 26170, GREENSBORO, NC, 27402-6170, USA, 919-304-2991

Image sort
plant identification.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 4
Location: Payette/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 10:30 AM
Number: 4010
Abstract ID:222
Candidate for Awards:None

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