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Peer Review

The American Physiological Society Archive of Teaching Resources



Overall Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Jul 01, 2008 by Teacher Education
Overview: The American Physiological Society offers resources and professional development opportunities to promote excellence in science education at the K-12 levels and physiology education at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels.
Learning Goals: APS programs and resources are grounded in six major tenets of science teaching. These axioms are research-based and, in practice, clearly enhance the science learning of diverse students. In designing resources and programs, the APS uses these six points as guiding principles and encourages science educators at all levels to consider how these essential elements  can contribute to exemplary education in their classrooms. Student-centered instruction is at the heart of exemplary science education. Engaging students in open and guided inquiries, problem- and case-based learning, and hands-on explorations leads to deeper conceptual understanding and highly developed process skills. Valuing diversity among students is a defining characteristic of excellence in science education. All students bring unique strengths and needs to the classroom. Understanding and drawing on these differences – whether in gender, racial/ethnic group, or learning styles – contributes to dynamic science education. Integrating technology to enhance learning is particularly important in science education. Science has always utilized technology, ranging from simple tools to measure time, speed, and mass to sophisticated instrumentation to capture data on the behavior of single cells or molecules within a living organism. Today’s technology – particularly computers, software, and the Internet – provides rich opportunities to develop student skills in both technology use and information management. To be authentic, assessment must focus on both content and process skills. Recognizing that students can never grasp the entirety of the ever expanding knowledge base in science, they must gain process skills that prepare them to be lifelong learners, as well as basic concepts and fundamental knowledge. Authentic assessment is diverse in format and approach, tapping into the different learning styles of students and highlighting both achievement and areas for improvement. Utilizing accurate and timely content information is central to scientific study. Science is a process with all findings subject to confirmation and continued exploration. The scientific process leads to a knowledge base that grows continuously. Students must have access to up-to-date information in order to build a solid foundation. Incorporating accurate and timely information means integrating recent research findings into the curriculum, as well as using recent textbooks. Reflecting on teaching and learning is essential to maintaining excellence in science education. Science teaching is, ultimately, an experiment with new sets of experimental subjects appearing each course, semester, or year. Educators must constantly observe their students and themselves and check whether the methods and materials they have chosen are accomplishing the goal – student learning. Experienced educators adjust and check again. This ongoing process requires reflecting on one’s teaching and the learning in the classroom and is a hallmark of the exceptional science educator.
Target Student Population: K-12 educators, undergraduates and graduates in education related to the physiological sciences.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: There is no prerequisite knowledge needed to use this website. You will need to have an idea of what you are looking for in the APS archives since there is so much material.
Type of Material: Resource
Recommended Uses: Lesson construction Research Teacher Units Teacher-Developed Activities Science activities and laboratories for K-12 and undergraduate levels Learning Cycle Units Hands-on, inquiry-approach lessons with authentic assessments and integrated Internet activities Inquiry: Using Inquiry-based Instruction Resources for using inquiry-based teaching and learning in the classroom (note this page is to be developed) Local Outreach Team Units Hands-on, inquiry-approach activities with authentic assessments Integrating Web-Based Resources Into Lessons Models for developing web pages that can enhance lessons or serve as a lesson in itself
Technical Requirements: Browser and HTML access.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: In the Archive you will not only find labs, lessons, graphics, animations, and web sites that can enhance the content in your courses, but you will also be challenged to examine how you teach, with suggested offerings in the “Explore Effective Pedagogy” section and linked to each of the learning objects to view. The Archive also serves as an entry point to the APS Careers web site, offering career resources for students and educators at each grade level. 
Concerns: Since this is such a well designed website some may have trouble appreciating the amount of information and resources available. It is best to take some time to explore the contents of the K-12 Archives.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: Numerous and prolific resources are provided for science educators and the target audiences. The user will benefit from the materials with enhanced educational access to resources of this calibre.
Concerns: None

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: The website is very easy for faculty to use. Students may need some direction in exploring the numerous links and in using the search engines.
Concerns: Very difficult to navigate. Many resources listed as "page will not display". The initial page for each section looked as if the highlighted areas would be links, but the user must work to navigate to the second area in order to find the links desired.

Other Issues and Comments: This is a website that should not be missed. It has valuable information for a large target population. Take the time to visit it. You won't be disappointed.