What is it? VIRTmac (Visual Interactive Revolutionary Tactile Magnetic Classroom) is a modeling kit that uses magnets on classroom blackboards to display the structure and processes of cells and molecules.
How does it work? By following the instructions on the provided DVD and lesson plans, teachers lead grade 8-12 students through constructing models of, and acting out the processes of, cells and molecules by using magnets on a blackboard.
The VIRTmac system can liven up classes by integrating technology (via video instruction supplemented with physical examples).
How hard is it to use? These magnetic model kits are relatively easy to use. Choose from three learning experiences, each with its own kit. Each one includes an instructional DVD, complete with video lessons to follow. Kit one covers membrane and protein structure, kit two goes over DNA and RNA protein structures, and kit three encompasses protein folding and enzyme structure function.
How well does it work? The magnets will work best in classrooms where students have experience in cooperative learning. Students will interact with each other and have fun while observing different chemical processes. The multiple-intelligences aspect of acting out processes should help students better absorb what they’re learning.
VIRTmac will probably work best for visual learners, but there’s also a hands-on element here, the repetition of which can help students with memorization. Simultaneously, everything is verbally explained by the teacher, or students, during the lesson.
How do I use it in the classroom?VIRTmac can simplify the explanation of complicated biology processes, and great lesson plans and tactile activities make it easier for students to understand the concepts.
Read about other products featured in the Tech in the Classroom series.
Tech in the Classroom is a recurring feature that examines widely available technology, software and gadgets and how they might be used in a school setting.
Article by Jason Cunningham, EducationWorld Social Media Editor
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