The coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives in many ways. As we practice social distancing and abide by rules to not congregate in large groups, many schools across the country have made the decision to cancel face-to-face classes for the rest of the school year and move instruction online.
The transition to online teaching has presented challenges for many educators and has forced them to rethink the way they deliver course content. Science educators who had planned classroom dissection exercises during this time will need to utilize virtual dissection alternatives and—if they have not done so already— may have the opportunity to recognize the advantages these tools offer over traditional dissection alternatives.
NAVS has seen an uptick in the number of educators who have reached out to us about dissection alternatives over the last several weeks. One teacher noted, “I was delighted to hear of your free download of the Froguts virtual dissection software as our instruction has been disrupted due to the COVID-19 closures.”
Another wrote, “I (like everyone else) had to figure out how to make labs work virtually thanks to the pandemic. I found your tool and I liked it a lot. I was able to put together something that I found adequate and that still gives students some feeling of what they missed out on in lab.”
NAVS is pleased that we are able to offer Froguts and other dissection alternatives to teachers and students to ensure their education is not disrupted—in these times, and always.
We also believe that when biology educators that are new to using dissection alternatives have the opportunity to use these educational tools as replacements for dissection, that they will recognize many of the advantages about alternatives that NAVS has long touted. It is our hope that they will actively choose to use these alternatives over dissection specimens in the future.
Dissection alternatives have many advantages over traditional dissection:
- Students who utilize humane alternatives to dissection perform as well as or better than students who participate in dissection exercises.
- Students are more willing to complete exercises when using alternatives compared to traditional dissection.
- Alternatives cost less than animal dissection.
- Alternatives save valuable time in preparation and cleanup.
- Alternatives are reusable.
- Teachers and students find that alternatives are user friendly.
- Alternatives save animal lives.
We are also pleased to share a valuable resource offered by our friends at the Animal in Science Policy Institute, who have put together a schedule of free online animal anatomy classes. They represent another innovative, virtual method of approaching dissection that achieves educational goals without harming animals.
Please forward this email to friends and family members that have children in grades K-12 to make them aware of smarter alternatives to classroom dissection exercises.