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Education Technology News: Where Have All the Scalpels Gone?
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Education Featured Article

May 31, 2011

Where Have All the Scalpels Gone?

By Carrie Schmelkin, TMCnet Web Editor


While some schools are going green others are going animal friendly.

For those students who grimace during biology class when the teacher asks them to trade in their pencils for scalpels to dissect a frog to learn about anatomy, fear no more. A southern California school recently agreed to become the first United States school to forgo the scalpels in favor of anatomy software.


Rancho Verde High School has forged a deal with the Animal Welfare Institute and Save the Frogs to save money by offering free anatomy software and to spare the amphibians by no longer dissecting them. The animal welfare groups will give Digital Frog 2.5 software licenses — worth nearly $900 each — to the first 25 schools that agree to give up dissections for five years.

“AWI commends Rancho Verde High School for abandoning its dissection program and using dissection alternatives to teach biology,” said AWI President Cathy Liss in a statement. “This type of animal-friendly education is more humane, more effective, environmentally friendly, cost-effective and does not teach students to rationalize the unjustified killing of animals.”

According to recent reports, the animal welfare groups contend that virtual dissection programs are more humane and safer than touching animals preserved with formaldehyde. Conversely, some groups are arguing that a computer software program can’t hold a candle to a real animal organ.

The Race to Stop Dissections contest asks students and teachers to assist worldwide amphibian conservation efforts by getting their schools and school districts to abandon frog dissection programs. One school will win a full license for the Digital Frog 2.5, cash prizes and an opportunity to hear Save the Frogs! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger speak at their school.

"Save the Frogs! aims to get every school in the United States to abandon their frog dissection programs by 2014," said Kriger in a statement.

The deadline for entries is December 1, 2011.


Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves


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