Greetings, fellow high school biology educators!
Today, we’re talking all about technology!
Are you the teacher who embraces technology, or the teacher who tries to go about their day without it in the classroom? (No judgment if you’re the latter!)
While technology does not work for every lesson, it can be extremely beneficial in some areas, and we have to embrace it. Technology isn’t going anywhere, and it needs to be used to prepare our students for life outside of the classroom.
Simply put, embracing technology is no longer just an option – it’s a necessity.
As we navigate the ever-evolving world of science teaching, leveraging technology can enhance our ability to engage and educate the young minds in our classrooms.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some innovative ways to incorporate technology into high school biology teaching, empowering both teachers and students for a future of scientific discovery.
Explore the human body – BioDigital
When it comes to teaching biology, one of the most fascinating subjects is human anatomy and physiology. This is where BioDigital comes in.
BioDigital is a powerful tool that takes learning to a whole new level by providing an immersive 3D experience of the human body.
You have the ability to give your students the ability to explore the human body’s systems, organs, and structures with just a few clicks. This was never possible before on the high school level!
And yes – you can create a FREE account!
BioDigital offers a comprehensive platform that allows students to visualize and interact with the human body in ways that traditional textbooks simply cannot match.
With this tool, students can not only explore the human body, but also engage in clinical scenarios where they analyze how a certain disease affects one or multiple parts of the body.
In addition, this program offers augmented reality for students. Students can project a 3D image of the human body from their tablet or smartphone into their environment.
Like, are you kidding me?!
You can customize the experience for students based on your needs. Did I also mention that you can assign assessments in the 3D environment for students to complete?
BioDigital is a state-of-the-art educational tool that you should check out today.
Incorporate Digital Interactive Notebooks
As technology continues to reshape education, the concept of note-taking has also evolved.
Digital interactive notebooks have emerged as a powerful tool for enhancing engagement, organization, and collaboration in the high school biology classroom. It is safe to say that using digital interactive notebooks is one of my favorite ways to incorporate technology.
Within digital interactive notebooks, students are engaged with activities that require them to critically think about the material. By incorporating multimedia elements, interactivity, organization, collaboration, and reflection, these resources elevate the traditional note-taking experience to new heights.
As high school biology teachers, you have the opportunity to harness the power of technology to create a more engaging and personalized learning journey for your students.
I have been using digital interactive notebooks for years and love them. Want to learn why I love them so much? Check out this blog post on 3 surprising reasons you will love using Digital INBs.
I have learned to love them so much that I even created a whole line of digital interactive notebooks for you to use with your students. You can check those out in my store!
Say goodbye to traditional paper-and-pencil notebooks and say hello to a dynamic, multimedia-rich learning experience.
Using PhET Simulations as digital lab experiences
One of my favorite educational tools is PhET Interactive Simulations. PhET certainly isn’t a secret – science teachers everywhere rave about it!
These are exceptional resources for science educators, particularly in the realm of high school biology.
PhET Interactive Simulations have been developed by the University of Colorado Boulder and are research-based.
PhET Simulations are very user-friendly, and my students honestly love them. I have used these simulations in a variety of ways. Sometimes, I will use them as a pre-lab for a larger lab we are conducting in class. I find that students perform better in the in-person lab if they have prior knowledge of what to expect.
In addition, I will use PhET Simulations as make-up lab activities if students are unable to make up an in-person lab. Sometimes recreating a lab is impossible, but students can still gain knowledge with this online alternative.
When you register for a free teacher account, you will also have access to pre-made lab handouts that teachers from around the world have created. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Am I right?
By utilizing these virtual simulations, you can transform your high school biology classroom into a hub of scientific exploration where students can experiment, analyze, and grasp the intricacies of the biological world like never before.
Interactive media – HHMI Biointeractive
A lesser known tool for biology lessons is HHMI Biointeractive.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Biointeractive is a treasure trove of interactive resources that bring biology concepts to life. From captivating animations and short films, Click and Learn activities, and virtual laboratory simulations, HHMI Biointeractive offers educators a plethora of tools to engage students in hands-on exploration.
You can use the filters and search bar to easily find suitable activities for your lessons.
- Biomolecules on the Menu – this interactive model shows how food moves through the digestive system, and what happens to the molecules
- Natural Selection and Adaptation – a video assessment about natural selection in rock pocket mice – it is interspersed with questions that self-grade
- Eukaryotic Cell Cycle and Cancer – an interactive diagram that students can click through to learn about the regulatory checks at each stage of the cell cycle
There are some resources that go beyond the scope of most HS Biology courses, but these are great for students that are planning to continue studying Science in College. You can also use them for early finishers.
Make assessment fun with digital quiz games
In the ever-evolving landscape of education, the integration of digital quiz tools has ushered in a new era of assessment.
We now have access to powerful platforms like Kahoot!, Quizizz, and Google Forms Quizzes. These enable us to create dynamic learning experiences and gauge student understanding in innovative ways!
I’ll give a brief overview of each one.
My favorite digital quiz tools:
- Kahoot! – a fun and straightforward quiz game that is played as a whole class. There is a countdown for students to answer multiple-choice questions, before the answer is revealed. There is also a library of pre-created Kahoots to save you time!
- Quizziz – these interactive quizzes can include match up activities, polls, videos, and multiple choice questions. You can choose to have music, leaderboards, etc. so it is very customizable. There are editable pre-made quizzes.
- Blooket – super simple to set up, there are many game modes to choose from. This gamification motivates students to answer with care, so they gain more points to use in the game!
- Boom Cards – depending on your account level, you can create or purchase Boom Cards. These can have a variety of question types, such as multiple choice, drag and drop, match-up and more.
- Google Forms Quizzes – these are a more traditional assessment tool and can also be printed if required. They can include a variety of question types, including long answer questions which are useful for higher grades. If you use Google Suite at school, student data can be integrated with your gradebook.
I love Kahoot!, Blooket and Quizzes for transforming assessment into an engaging and competitive experience. These make learning a game that students are eager to participate in.
For a more formal assessment, I always choose Google Forms Quizzes. You can check out how I use Google Forms quizzes here.
All of these tools will present you with student data. This varies by platform, but you can usually expect to see overall class performance, the hardest questions, and individual progress. This data is automatically collected for you – I LOVE this aspect of digital quizzes!
Knowing this data will help you decide what to reteach, which individuals to intervene with, and which topic areas to focus on ahead of tests.
My task for you – choose one digital quiz platform from the list above to try with your students this week.
Bring technology into your biology classroom
Let’s address an unspoken fear…
Many teachers are afraid of technology and believe that it will replace them as professionals. This simply isn’t true!
Embracing technology in high school biology teaching isn’t about replacing traditional methods – it’s about enhancing them.
By incorporating simulations, digital interactive notebooks, multimedia content, and online quizzes, you are creating a holistic and dynamic learning experience for your students.
As science educators, we have the opportunity to equip our students with the technological literacy they need to thrive in an ever-changing world of scientific exploration.
So, let’s embark on this journey together, embracing technology as a catalyst for modern science teaching excellence.
I hope you have a wonderful day,