The Micro User

Introductory Genetics
By Garland Computing
BBC B/B+/Master 128

Published in The Micro User 3.12

A model for educational packages

Introductory Genetics, from Garland, is designed for pupils aged 13 to 16 who are studying CSE and "O"-level biology.

The software is designed to improve their understanding of elementary concepts in genetics.

The package contains eight programs in three sections.

Sex Determination examines how male and female offspring are produced during reproduction.

Dominance and Codominance investigates the results of any cross for single factor inheritance controlled by two elleles.

Inheritance of Blood Groups displays the results of any cross from the user-selected genotypes based on A, B and O alleles.

The whole package is menudriven, enabling you to start at any point for practice or revision.

Each section follows a similar format: an optional introductory text is followed by TRUE/FALSE questions to test under standing; incorrect answers are explained and retested, and the program will not continue until all are answered correctly.

Double-height teletext characters are used throughout, with colour coding to emphasise key words in the clear and concise information.

Extensive use is made of graphics animation, histograms and line graphs to enhance a most impressive product.

Each section is divided into a number of compact and self-transformed contained learning units based on sound educational methodology.

Exposition of information precedes appropriate examples. This is followed by consolidation of the concepts learnt by the use of simulations, games and tests based on randomly-generated data.

The programs can be used for computer-assisted learning by an individual, for a small group working by consensus, or as an interactive visual aid for a class lesson.

All necessary operating instructions are on-screen. The error-trapping routines are superb - mistakes are pointed out and clearly explained.

These are certainly some of the best I have seen, coping with even the most ludicrous possibilities devised by the adolescent mind!

An eight-page booklet contains useful background infor

mation, full software description and objectives for each program

This package has considerable potential.

It has applications in many areas of the curriculum. For example, the sections on random sampling, probability and graphical presentation would prove useful for students of statistics.

It is a thorough, educationally-sound, well-written, interesting classroom asset that represents excellent value.

Jim McHugh

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