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Miller & Levine Biology/Biology.com

By Sally Finley - Posted Mar 1, 2009
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Company: Pearson Education, 1 Lake St., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. Phone: (888) 977-7900; Internet: www.pearsoned.com.  

Price: $299.97—Biology.com teacher access pack. Additional pricing information is available from Pearson.

Audience: Grades 9–10.

Format: Internet-based curriculum: text, graphics, audio, and video.

Minimum System Requirements: A computer with internet access.

Description: Biology.com offers a complete online student and teacher edition of Pearson’s Miller & Levine Biology textbook, including editable work sheets, interactive study guides, science games, and online assessments. The site can be used as a stand-alone program or in combination with print and digital resources. 

Report Card

Overall Rating: * * * * *

Installation A

Content/Features A

Ease of Use A

Product Support A

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: The login requires a username and password. Access is simple and quick. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Biology.com provides a complete online program supported by digital content that covers the general high school biology curriculum. The units of study cover topics such as the Nature of Life, Ecology, Cells, Genetics, Evolution, From Microorganisms to Plants, Animals, and The Human Body.

A Lesson Overview explains the key concepts, a Lesson Notes feature provides a graphic organizer to help organize note taking, and an Activities section offers multimedia resources for diverse learning styles. Assessment features include a Quiz Yourself self-assessment and a more formal Lesson Assessment that submits online answers to a teacher for grading.

A virtual biology lab enables students to complete hands-on science experiments. As part of each chapter review, students can access activities related to vocabulary in formats including crossword puzzles, flash cards, or matching games.

An introductory video invites students to become science detectives by searching for clues to solve a mystery. The companion Untamed Science video series explores each mystery by elaborating on the real-world connections related to the concepts introduced in the mystery. The Untamed Science videos, described as "science reality TV" by a program creator, feature a team of "ecogeeks" who work to create real experiences designed to add relevance to curriculum topics. A video about the ecogeek adventures appears online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=sm2EmCYBHvk.

Students receive clues throughout the lesson to help them solve the mystery and answer the questions at the end of the chapter assessment. Feedback is immediate; students are given the correct answer if they are unable to answer correctly.

The Active Art feature enables students to manipulate the art that comes directly from the textbook. In one interesting example, students are required to place labels on a diagram of a eukaryotic chromosome preparing for division. Each attempt at labeling is assessed; students know immediately when their work is correct. When a label is incorrect, students are permitted additional chances to correct the label.

The Student Center offers online access to the Biology course. From here, students can view and complete assignments, master vocabulary and concepts with games and activities, prepare for testing with study guides, watch videos, and complete online tests that include remediation.

A Message Board enables teachers to communicate with students. The To Do List feature provides the teacher with a way to communicate about student assignments.

Two workbooks are available for students who need additional support in reading skills or study skills.

The teacher component of the program can generate class reports of student progress and analyze the questions that are causing difficulties. The Teacher Center provides instructors with access to lesson planning features and the Teacher Edition of the text. From here, teachers can edit work sheets and tests, assign homework, and assess and remediate using the assessment tools. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: Access requires a username and password. Students can use any computer with internet access at school or home. No data is stored on individual computers. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: Support can be obtained by a toll-free phone call to (800) 848-9500, through email to k12cs@custhelp.com, by fax at (877) 260-2530, or by contacting an area representative listed on the website. Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: Biology.com provides high school students with direct experience in using technology to reinforce book concepts.

I liked the format for each chapter, beginning with the video that introduces a science mystery. The online program explores that mystery while elaborating on its real-world connections. The science videos featuring young "ecogeeks" are sure to appeal to high school students.

The program’s engaging resources provide tools for the busy teacher to use to assess student progress online, reinforce concepts, present fun science games, and work with interactive study guides and easily edited work sheets. The vocabulary activities are presented in a game format that will interest young adults.

The online visual presentations and lessons are interesting as well as informative. They are sure to appeal to today’s tech-savvy youth with their diverse learning styles and abilities.

Reviewer: Sally Finley, Educational Consultant, Coral Springs, FL.


 
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