Design, delivery and evaluation of a bioinformatics education workshop for 13-16-year-olds

Stevie Bain, Thomas R Meagher, Daniel Barker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Bioinformatics is the use of computers in biology, particularly to analyse DNA and protein sequences and associated data. Bioinformatics has become crucial to most areas of life sciences research. However, bioinformatics education has not kept up with the pace of these advances. To help address this problem, we have designed an open-access bioinformatics workshop for secondary school biology pupils. The workshop is linked to the curriculum in Scotland, addressing learning objectives for Scottish Qualifications Authority Higher Biology and Human Biology. Furthermore, it aims to inspire pupils more generally and includes critical evaluation of evidence as a more generic skill. We delivered this workshop to biology pupils of seven schools in Scotland and conducted evaluations of pupil and teacher feedback. Quantitative pupil and teacher feedback suggests the workshop is useful and enjoyable, with no statistically significant difference between pupils identifying as female and pupils identifying as male. Qualitative responses suggest the workshop gives an increased knowledge of the field of bioinformatics and its importance in everyday life, and that pupils enjoy working in groups. Teachers also highlight the importance of hands-on experience in the classroom. We conclude the workshop is successful in its aims and is suitable for wider deployment.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Education
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • bioinformatics
  • biology
  • computing
  • DNA

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