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Using digital images of the zebra finch song system as a tool to teach organizational effects of steroid hormones: a free downloadable module.

Grisham W, Schottler NA, McCauley LM, Pham AP, Ruiz ML, Fong MC, Cui X - CBE Life Sci Educ (2011)

Bottom Line: Zebra finch song behavior is sexually dimorphic: males sing and females do not.We have overcome these barriers by creating digital tools, including an image library of song nuclei from zebra finch brains.We have used this library for several terms, and students not only obtain significant experimental results but also make gains in understanding content, experimental controls, and inferential statistics (analysis of variance and post hoc tests).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. grisham@lifesci.ucla.edu

ABSTRACT
Zebra finch song behavior is sexually dimorphic: males sing and females do not. The neural system underlying this behavior is sexually dimorphic, and this sex difference is easy to quantify. During development, the zebra finch song system can be altered by steroid hormones, specifically estradiol, which actually masculinizes it. Because of the ease of quantification and experimental manipulation, the zebra finch song system has great potential for use in undergraduate labs. Unfortunately, the underlying costs prohibit use of this system in undergraduate labs. Further, the time required to perform a developmental study renders such undertakings unrealistic within a single academic term. We have overcome these barriers by creating digital tools, including an image library of song nuclei from zebra finch brains. Students using this library replicate and extend a published experiment examining the dose of estradiol required to masculinize the female zebra finch brain. We have used this library for several terms, and students not only obtain significant experimental results but also make gains in understanding content, experimental controls, and inferential statistics (analysis of variance and post hoc tests). We have provided free access to these digital tools at the following website: http://mdcune.psych.ucla.edu/modules/birdsong.

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Responses to selected questions on our Likert scale; percent of total students in both samples combined (n = 153) as a function of scale point (full set of responses and questions in the Supplemental Material). Question 11: I learned a lot about sexual differentiation of the brain through the Bird Song System module. Question 12: I learned a lot about analyzing data through the Bird Song System module. Question 17: I felt like I learned as much using the digitized images as I would have using tissue on slides. Question 20: I appreciated being able to jump right in and collect data.
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Figure 6: Responses to selected questions on our Likert scale; percent of total students in both samples combined (n = 153) as a function of scale point (full set of responses and questions in the Supplemental Material). Question 11: I learned a lot about sexual differentiation of the brain through the Bird Song System module. Question 12: I learned a lot about analyzing data through the Bird Song System module. Question 17: I felt like I learned as much using the digitized images as I would have using tissue on slides. Question 20: I appreciated being able to jump right in and collect data.

Mentions: Responses to the Likert-scale items reflected a general enthusiasm for the module and showed that students believed that they were gaining in knowledge and skills. Students generally agreed that they had learned a lot about sexual differentiation of the brain and data analysis (Figure 6). Students also liked getting significant results and repeating and extending a published experiment. Most students also reported that using the digitized images was easy, and they felt that they learned as much from the digitized images as they would have from tissue on slides. (Notably, they had a side project that dealt with using actual tissue on slides, so they had an apt comparison.)


Using digital images of the zebra finch song system as a tool to teach organizational effects of steroid hormones: a free downloadable module.

Grisham W, Schottler NA, McCauley LM, Pham AP, Ruiz ML, Fong MC, Cui X - CBE Life Sci Educ (2011)

Responses to selected questions on our Likert scale; percent of total students in both samples combined (n = 153) as a function of scale point (full set of responses and questions in the Supplemental Material). Question 11: I learned a lot about sexual differentiation of the brain through the Bird Song System module. Question 12: I learned a lot about analyzing data through the Bird Song System module. Question 17: I felt like I learned as much using the digitized images as I would have using tissue on slides. Question 20: I appreciated being able to jump right in and collect data.
© Copyright Policy - creative-commons
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3105929&req=5

Figure 6: Responses to selected questions on our Likert scale; percent of total students in both samples combined (n = 153) as a function of scale point (full set of responses and questions in the Supplemental Material). Question 11: I learned a lot about sexual differentiation of the brain through the Bird Song System module. Question 12: I learned a lot about analyzing data through the Bird Song System module. Question 17: I felt like I learned as much using the digitized images as I would have using tissue on slides. Question 20: I appreciated being able to jump right in and collect data.
Mentions: Responses to the Likert-scale items reflected a general enthusiasm for the module and showed that students believed that they were gaining in knowledge and skills. Students generally agreed that they had learned a lot about sexual differentiation of the brain and data analysis (Figure 6). Students also liked getting significant results and repeating and extending a published experiment. Most students also reported that using the digitized images was easy, and they felt that they learned as much from the digitized images as they would have from tissue on slides. (Notably, they had a side project that dealt with using actual tissue on slides, so they had an apt comparison.)

Bottom Line: Zebra finch song behavior is sexually dimorphic: males sing and females do not.We have overcome these barriers by creating digital tools, including an image library of song nuclei from zebra finch brains.We have used this library for several terms, and students not only obtain significant experimental results but also make gains in understanding content, experimental controls, and inferential statistics (analysis of variance and post hoc tests).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. grisham@lifesci.ucla.edu

ABSTRACT
Zebra finch song behavior is sexually dimorphic: males sing and females do not. The neural system underlying this behavior is sexually dimorphic, and this sex difference is easy to quantify. During development, the zebra finch song system can be altered by steroid hormones, specifically estradiol, which actually masculinizes it. Because of the ease of quantification and experimental manipulation, the zebra finch song system has great potential for use in undergraduate labs. Unfortunately, the underlying costs prohibit use of this system in undergraduate labs. Further, the time required to perform a developmental study renders such undertakings unrealistic within a single academic term. We have overcome these barriers by creating digital tools, including an image library of song nuclei from zebra finch brains. Students using this library replicate and extend a published experiment examining the dose of estradiol required to masculinize the female zebra finch brain. We have used this library for several terms, and students not only obtain significant experimental results but also make gains in understanding content, experimental controls, and inferential statistics (analysis of variance and post hoc tests). We have provided free access to these digital tools at the following website: http://mdcune.psych.ucla.edu/modules/birdsong.

Show MeSH