Biology has come a long way since I was a student! No more smelly gross frogs
to cut open! Now you can use V-Frog(), the world's first virtual
reality based frog dissection software. By using your home computer (equipped
with Windows XP) and mouse a student can easily cut open the skin of a frog
(virtually) and explore everything inside. Just like dissecting a real frog,
the V-Frog() is designed for biology education. Some of the features include
3D navigation, organ and tissue query, comparative anatomy and activation (watch
beating heart, digestion, and many more). V-Frog() is available
for home use at a fraction of the cost public and private schools would pay.
Why use a computer dissection program? Tactus Technologies states on their website, "Many students, teachers, parents, and animal rights advocates have expressed strong objections to dissection for moral, ethical, religious, and/or safety reasons. In recent years these individuals have taken a more active role in voicing their opinions regarding dissection which has led to legislation in many states requiring educators to provide an alternative to physical dissection. In 2004, Virginia passed such a law, and most recently (2006), New Jersey passed a similar law. With nearly 6 million dissections performed annually in this country, and as many as 20 million or more worldwide, there exists a need to replace physical dissection with a comparable activity that is both deemed effective by teachers, and acceptable to those who object to physical dissection." As for this teacher, I was very happy to not be breathing the chemicals or have my children breathing them, not to mention that a computer mouse is safer than a scalpel.
The first time you run the software you need to be on the internet to enter a code that is provided with the product. After that you no longer need to be connected to the internet to use the software. When you launch the program the Main Menu comes up with the various choices such as the "How to Use V-Frog()" button which has tutorials that make navigating the program much easier. The Main Menu also includes Comparative, Directional and Review buttons, as well as buttons for each of the systems of the frog's body. The Comparative section allows students to compare humans and frogs. Students can review everything they have learned by going to the Review menu which is similar to a study guide. When you roll your mouse over the main menu buttons they go from black and white to color. As a teacher, this feature makes it easy to divide the program up into lessons similar to chapters in a book.
Once you click on a particular system the virtual frog appears on the screen. Students can click on body parts to have them labeled with a thorough description on the right side of the screen. At the bottom of the screen are the "tools" such as scalpel and tweezers. Once the frog is cut open, the student can begin the actual dissection and removal of all the organs. An endoscope is also provided to explore inside things such as the intestines (can you say ewwww?). The navigation can be awkward at times, however the visuals are amazing. It won't surprise you to know that it took over 3 years to develop the program!
Everyone in our home school enjoyed using this product from the high school students down to the toddlers, who mostly just watched. We learned about the muscular, skeletal, digestive, respiratory, circulatory nervous systems and much more while dissecting the frog on our computer. Unlike a "real frog" students can dissect this frog over and over again! Dissecting the virtual frog was disgustingly fun for our entire family! My favorite part was that unlike when I was dissecting frogs, we didn't have to put up with the nauseating aroma!
One problem that our family had with the material was the emphasis on evolution throughout the materials. Because it is the only product of its kind and because the dissection really was fun and educational, I would recommend this product to other home schooling families, with one caution to thoroughly teach your students Creation Science first.