Will Virtual Frog Software Make Traditional Dissections Obsolete?

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Will Virtual Frog Software Make Traditional Dissections Obsolete? Will Virtual Frog Software Make Traditional Dissections Obsolete?
Education

Will Virtual Frog Software Make Traditional Dissections Obsolete?

by Liz Dwyer

June 2, 2011

The move to a virtual experience would certainly be welcome for students who find the experience of cutting into an animal inhumane or disgusting—I remember my freshman year lab partner fainting while we worked on our frog. Dissections are also environmentally questionable since the frogs are preserved in formaldehyde, and students often touch these chemical coated frogs with their bare hands. But what may really persuade schools to move to a virtual experience is that the software is a lot cheaper than buying the traditional frog kits.

Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley, California has become the first school in the nation to make the switch to a completely virtual frog dissection experience. Principal Kevin Stipp says the chance to save some money is the main reason he agreed to move to virtual frogs. The school normally spends almost $7,000 on 30 frog kits that have to be shared between 1,225 biology students over a five year period. In comparison a Digital Frog 2.5 license only costs $884—which Rancho Verde is getting for free for making the switch, courtesy of the Animal Welfare Institute—and every student can dissect her own frog online.

The two animal rights organizations say they'll buy the virtual dissection software licenses for the first 25 schools that agree to abandon preserved frog dissections for the next five years. They hope all schools make the virtual switch by 2014.

photo via Wikimedia Commons

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