A. Fonseca, C. Kirner

Federal University of Itajubá (BRAZIL)
The literature in the field of Biology teaching has shown that knowledge evolves more dynamically than our teaching strategies. In the scope of Education, the interface between the new media, technology and classical ideas should be a subject of debate, in order to allow for the student a more comprehensive learning. The teaching of Genetics has been facing difficulties due to the lack of laboratories in the vast majority of Brazilian public schools, let alone the fact that students regard it as a complex subject. This paper aims to demonstrate how a virtual laboratory equipped with online integrated media and augmented reality may promote improvements to Genetics teaching for secondary school. For this project, an interactive environment was developed for students by means of the MIIO template, which resorts to HTML technology and can also be accessed outside school. Flaras tool, employed for constructing free-use-augmented-reality resources, was also used. The environment consists of a web page with hyperlinks having seven (n =7) visual elements on Genetics wherein each one is followed by a button with which the student is able to interact via mouse and five multimedia resources (n=5): a guiding text to the topic, an explanatory video, a 3D representation of the element, a narration with the teacher’s comments, and an augmented reality game for consolidating the learned concepts. In order to interact with the augmented reality, students are supposed to point a paper printed marker to the webcam and visualise on the monitor the virtual elements projected on real-life environment. For such, 30 Brazilian students from the Federal Institute of Rio de Janeiro were selected. They used the virtual laboratory during Biology classes and latter answered a questionnaire that qualitatively assessed their mode of interaction with the referred laboratory, their motivation to accomplish the proposed tasks and their understanding of Genetics. The answers showed that the application served to improve students’ performance over the theme as well as their motivation. The results demonstrate that students approved of the use of Augmented Reality in the subject, for it facilitates viewing biological phenomena and consequently developing abstract concepts. The virtual laboratory made the lessons more appealing to students by working as an effective auxiliary tool in the Genetics leaning-teaching process. Meanwhile, it is important to highlight the fact that the proposed methodology is not based solely on the grounds of visual and ludic attraction, but on the inclusion of the cognitive aspects related to the perception of the biological phenomena at stake. In addition, the same instrument may also be useful for teaching other subjects in future works.