There's an app for that: Teaching entomology in the online age

Angela Mech, Derek Rosenberger, Philip Fanning, John J. Riggins, Brian Aukema, Jess Hartshorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Effective educational tools are needed to facilitate learning of organismal and ecological sciences in the virtual setting. For entomology laboratory classes, physically collecting insects and curating them in formal collections encompass the traditional learning and assessment tools to introduce students to the natural world and increase their curiosity and interest in insects. Virtual learning, however, creates issues with this modality. Using pre- and post-surveys across five universities based on a new lab activity, we sought to determine whether using a digital platform named iNaturalist stimulated observation, curiosity, and interest in insects. iNaturalist positively affected each measure, most strikingly among biology and zoology majors who increased observation by 15%, curiosity in identification by 39%, and interest by 16%. Increases in observation and curiosity in insects were positively correlated with increases in interest in entomology as a whole. Our findings suggest that virtual tools such as iNaturalist may promote positive course outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20081
JournalNatural Sciences Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Dr. Lynne Rieske-Kinney for her contributions to the development of this project. This project was exempt by the Institutional Review Board under categories 1 and 2 in accordance with federal regulations 45 CFR 46.104(d).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Natural Sciences Education published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Society of Agronomy.


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