James C. Hutten
New Trier High School
385 Winnetka Avenue
Winnetka, IL 60093



Short, visual illustrations can enhance a student's understanding of many biological concepts or processes. Also, the interest generated by presenting the right illustration at the right time can be highly motivational for students. Laserdiscs are excellent visual data banks. However, finding the ideal illustration for biotechnology topics takes significant time, particularly since many of the existing laserdiscs were not developed with biotechnology as the main focus.


Two distinct advantages of using laserdisc images are the ease and quickness for display, thus encouraging frequent and varied use. Note that any specific image can be used to illustrate a number of different biological ideas as the following question shows.

How could a thirty-second video clip on white blood cells be used?

Possible examples include:

  • Showing white blood cell structure.
  • Showing ameboid movement.
  • Introducing a topic on immune response.
  • Discussing the effects of AIDS.
  • Illustrating the source of human genomic DNA.
  • Demonstrating the source of human chromosomes for karyotyping.

Creative teachers could certainly add to these examples.

Once identified, specific frame numbers can be stored in several ways as follows:

  • Listing frame numbers by topic.
  • Producing a barcode list by topic for a barcode reader
  • Storing the frame numbers for use in a software multimedia application.


The accompanying three-page list includes all of the information necessary to locate both still frame and video clips useful for biotechnology related topics. The recommended illustrations could be used directly from the table. However, using a computer application would facilitate future retrieval.

This list references laserdiscs from two publishers, Optical Data (one disc: Life Science) and Videodiscovery (four discs: Anatomy & Physiology, Atoms to Anatomy; BioSci II, and Cell Biology). The list is not comprehensive; many more appropriate images can be identified by searching the catalogs accompanying the laserdiscs.

To use:

Identify the biotechnology topic of interest in the alphabetical list in the first column. Read across the table for information on the image type, image description, videodisc name, disc side and frame location numbers, and run time for video clips.

The second part of this document is in MicroSoft Works for the MAC. If you do not have microsoft works, you will have to view the materials on the hardcopy.

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