Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Macro ID: Flashcards vs. Online Database

Yesterday Marti Louw, from the University of Pittsburgh, came to test the practicality and the accuracy of her new online database: http://macroinvertebrates.org/. There were multiple stations set up with different aquatic macroinvertebrates, each accompanied with either a set of flashcards or a tablet with the database open. We made observations about each macro, then used the resources to try to identify the bug by its order and its family. We recorded our confidence in our answers and which tool helped us identify the macro. 

Once we were all finished, Marti read us the answers and we found that when using the online database, we were much more accurate. That being said, there was an almost even split of the group; about half preferring the online database and the other half favoring the flashcards. The people that preferred the flashcards agreed that the flashcards required you to work harder for your answer and therefore, we learned and remember more. The half that preferred the database more liked the quickness and versatility of the website, along with it's larger collection of information. Everyone agreed that in modern times, the database is definitely the way to go!

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