Learning genomics through images
Educating for visual literacy in a genomics world: fostering imagery of cellular and molecular dynamics in science education
The 'DNA Labs on the Road' – genomics practicals that visit secondary schools – have shown that students are reasonably knowledgeable on DNA and cells. What they lack is an image of how biological processes take place within a living cell. This is important however, because such images make it easier to understand new insights and applications of genomics in everyday life. Visualizing cellular processes offers a solution. After all, a picture says more than a thousand words. Scientists already use illustrations in their communication with laymen, but these are often quite complicated and do not show what exactly happens in a living cell. Cellular processes take place at fixed times and places, making animated cartoons very suitable to show the liveliness of a cell.
This project concentrates on developing such educational visualizations. To this end, the researchers will map how students currently 'see' cellular processes and how scientists visualize their message. Based on the differences between the two, lessons will be designed that include visualizations that fit with the scientist's message and are understandable for students. This will result in new educational materials that teach students the insights and essence of genomics.
Start project: September 2008