Jennifer Landin is a biology professor at North Carolina State University. She is also a scientific illustrator and a member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (GNSI). She attended the University of Georgia and University of Montana for her undergraduate degree in Forestry & Wildlife Management. She received her Master’s degree in biology from Marshall University in West Virginia.
I first met Jennifer last year at the GNSI conference in Savannah, Georgia. It wasn’t until after the conference, when we were working on an article for the Guild’s journal, did I learn of Jennifer’s dissertation research about the use of perceptual drawing in the classroom. I have since read her dissertation and am excited that we have the opportunity to learn more about Jennifer’s research this month.
In her research, Jennifer addresses the use of drawing to improve observational skills and increase understanding in the biology classroom. To help you understand her project, here are her research questions as they appear in Landin (2011):
1. Do students who participate in weekly drawing activities demonstrate a higher level of biology content knowledge when compared to students who participate in weekly writing activities?
2. Do students who participate in weekly drawing activities show a more positive attitude toward biology when compared to students who participate in weekly writing activities?
3. Do students who participate in weekly drawing activities display improved observational skills when compared to students who participate in weekly writing activities?
4. What are student perceptions of drawing activities in relation to biological understanding?
5. Are there correlations between the gains in content knowledge related to drawing activities and student cognitive processes?
Jennifer hypothesized that students who participated in weekly drawing activities would:
- Demonstrate a higher level of biology content knowledge.
- Demonstrate a more positive attitude toward biology.
- Demonstrate a higher level of observational skills when compared to students who participated in weekly writing activities only.
Did the data support these hypotheses?
We’ll find out as this month progresses.
Please welcome Dr. Jennifer Landin as our special guest for September!
Landin, Jennifer. 2011. Perceptual Drawing as a Learning Tool in a College Biology Laboratory. Dissertation. North Carolina University, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Update October 2016
See Jennifer and her students at work in a video produced by North Carolina State University at https://youtu.be/MFuDDLqajVA.