Bioethics Forums

Multimedia Schools, March-April 1997 | Go to article overview

Bioethics Forums


Company: Videodiscovery, Inc., 1700 Westlake Ave. N., Suite 600, Seattle, WA 98109-3012; Sales and Customer Service: 800/548-3472, 206/285-5400; Fax: 206/285-9245; http://www.videodiscovery.com/vdyweb

Price: $379--CAV laserdisc, school version

ISBN: 1-56307-395-1

Audience: High school biology students

Format: Videodisc: videos, text, still photographs, charts

                                REPORT CARD

Overall Rating



Installation      N/A
Content/Features  A
Ease of Use       A
Product Support   A

Maximum rating: 5 stars

System Requirements: This videodisc requires a standard laserdisc player, a bar code reader and/or remote control, and a standard television monitor.

Description: Bioethics Forums includes a double-sided CAV laserdisc, an introductory videotape, a teacher's manual, and a bar-coded student resource book. The program presents 12 current ethical dilemmas in the field of biology and asks students to explore the facts and perspectives of each person with a stake in the matter. Each unit takes three to five class periods to complete.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: No installation is required. Installation Rating: N/A

Content/Features: Bioethics Forums is an excellent resource for integrating ethics into the high school biology curriculum. The goal of each of the 12 forums is to educate students about the ethical dilemmas raised by current biological research and to teach critical thinking skills. The program is commendably free of bias and avoids promoting any one specific set of beliefs. Instead, the forums stress the importance of systematically analyzing problems and critically evaluating opinions and resources before making decisions.

The forums cover the following topics: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Maternal Responsibility for Health of Fetus; DNA Database for Criminals: Associating Behavior with Genetics; Employee Rights vs. Public Safety: Genetic Screening; Breast Cancer Susceptibility: Acting on Incomplete Research Data; Human Life Span: Using Biotechnology to Alter "Normal" Traits; Herbicide- and Pest-Resistant Plants: Releasing a Transgenic Organism into Nature; AIDS Resistance Gene: Determining Gene Ownership; Gender Selection: Using Genetic Information to Choose a Child; Development vs. Biodiversity: Putting an Economic Value on the Environment; Infant Transplants: Conceiving a Child for Its Tissue; Alzheimer's: Using Animals in Research; and Euthanasia: Setting Priorities.

Each forum begins with an ethical dilemma, as the opening scene presents the problem. A series of staged video interviews, still photographs, graphics, and documents provide the students with a wealth of information for their evaluation. The characters interviewed on the laserdisc include individuals who are directly involved, professionals who give their opinions, witnesses with key facts, and people concerned with related issues. …

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