An improved botanical search application for middle- and high-school students
A previously reported botanical data retrieval application has been improved to make it better suited for use in middle- and high-school science classes. This search interface is ring-structured and treats multi-faceted metadata intuitively, enabling students not only to search for plant names but also to learn about the morphological features and taxonomy of plants. A usability test with 20 middle- and high-school science teachers was performed to identify any problems with using this application in the classroom. Four problems were thereby identified, and the application interface was improved by changing how candidates are arranged and displayed, deleting the double-tap operation, and adding a bookmarking function. The effectiveness of the improved application was then evaluated by having 50 middle- and high-school students use it in group work. The results showed that they could more easily find plant names by simply rotating the search rings and could more easily analyze the information by quickly recognizing the features of retrieved plants. The improved application also better helped the students learn about plants on their own during the search process.
KeywordsEducational application Botanical study Dynamic hierarchy Graphical search interface Multi-faceted search
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