Educational Technology Research and Development

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 87–101

Use of dissection-related courseware by low-ability high school students: A qualitative inquiry


  • Mable B. Kinzie
    • the University of Virginia
  • M. Jean Foss
    • Albemarle County Public Schools
  • Susan M. Powers
    • the University of Virginia

DOI: 10.1007/BF02297359

Cite this article as:
Kinzie, M.B., Jean Foss, M. & Powers, S.M. ETR&D (1993) 41: 87. doi:10.1007/BF02297359


This article reports on a naturalistic study conducted with 24 low-achieving high school Biology students. Observations and interviews were used to determine how the teacher and students used two different computer-based instructional programs on frog anatomy and dissection, and how students conducted a subsequent dissection. Student and teacher opinions were solicited about the different computer-based programs and the dissection laboratory. Findings suggest that dissection can be a valuable learning experience for low-achieving Biology students when they are engaged in group cooperation and interaction and receive adequate instructional preparation. Results also point to the motivation these students exhibit toward computer use, to the importance of balancing learner and program control, and to the value of considering the teacher as a possible source of both interaction and structure during courseware use. Recommendations based on these and other findings are offered for educators and instructional developers.

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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 1993