This learning resource is a part of the National Health Museum in Atlanta, Georgia. Access Excellence is an online teaching materials portal that provides teachers with information and resources on current and future advances in the fields of biology, life science, and health.
The learning goal of the site is to make difficult life science issues more accessible by instructors to students through interactive tools, instructional animations, and other resources. The learning goals may vary depending upon the grade level of the student and the topic.
Target Student Population:
Students in kindergarten through high school may find these resources useful. Tools vary in their scope, making the site a good mix for multiple ages and learning needs.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Pre-requisites for in-classroom use - internet access, web browser, sound (if desired), and projection equipment (if desired).
Type of Material:
This material is an interactive website.
Tools at this site are useful as supplementary materials in the classroom in support of primary lesson plans. Students may also benefit from using these online tools at home. The learning resource assists instructors to integrate biology into multimedia education planning.
The technical requirements include a computer with Internet access, a web browser, the ability to listen to audio and view video.
Evaluation and Observation
The many different tools available through this site appear credible, factual, and high quality, while still being entertaining.
While advertisement acceptance policies are posted on the site, the ad's running along the right side and top of each page vary greatly in color and size and often prove distracting. One might also question whether this external advertisement might have some effect on what content is covered on the site.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Tools at this site may prove quite effective in helping students better grasp difficult concepts. The current events section of biology in the news and the online mystery spot both should go far to encourage student engagement in many of these online based activities.
Text presented with some illustrations seems more mature or advanced than the illustrations and animations themselves. There are so many available links to explore that it would be easy to become distracted during many of the assignments which are available.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The resource center has a "visual center" divided into subsections which should make finding appropriate supplementary lesson planning information readily available. The many of the tools on the learning resource require little more than click and play.
Navigating the site is fairly difficult due to a lack of centralized navigation links for the site; getting back to previous pages or getting to other sections proves challenging.
Other Issues and Comments:
This learning resource is an excellent resource for K-12 classroom teachers.