Development of a terminals system for Biochemist education

R. S. Rodrigues, W Fontes, M. S. Castro


Computers  became  a  common  learning  tool  since  basic  education  until  the  post-graduation.  Professors  have used  presentations,  sites  and  other  multimedia  resources  to  modify  and  improve  classes.  Biochemistry  presents  a large  amount  of  dynamic  processes  and  the  learning  journey  is  benefited  by  elaborated  drawings  and  colored animations  as  well.  Some  interaction  with  the  biochemical  processes  assists  pupils  to  perceive  the  functioning  of varied cycles and its relations. Student  participation in the pedagogical process,  such as social constructionism and distance learning are also realities in Biochemistry learning.The present work proposes the establishment of a free software based classroom system. The employment of a  CD-started  system  brings  freedom,  independent  of  the  operating  system  currently  installed  and  not  modifying  it. The  system  adopted  was  GNU/Linux.  With  its  tools,  it  was  possible  to  create  a  full  system  with  all  the  required programs  for  simulated  lessons,  interactive  navigation,  illustrations  and  presentations,  included  as  Biochemistry didactic material. Even old computers can be used. The implementation of remote terminal system enables very slow equipments to become useful accessing a process share with another better equipment. Free  software  packages  were  included  to  allow  students  to  open  and  edit  text,  presentations,  worksheets, images  and  PDF  documents.  A program was  especially developed  aiming  at the  professor  control  over  the  various computers improving the interaction among the classroom within the computational environment.The  above  described  system  was  inserted  in  a  single  CD.  It  can  be  used  within  MS-Windows,  Mac-OS  or GNU/Linux  operating  systems,  as  a  source  of  Biochemistry  didactic  material,  or  be  executed  as  a  “boot  disk” to replace any operating system. This technique is called LIVE-CD, where the system is loaded directly of a removable media.  The  original  operational  system  installed  will  not  be  affected  until  requested  by  the  user.  Also  the  already existing archives can be accessed by the system. The server terminal possibility is in agreement with the system concept: the freedom of its implementation with any kind of computer, since very limited hardware can still be used as terminals. As perspectives for the near future, the  live-CD  system  will  be  able  to  run  services  such  as  web,  database  and  PHP,  enabling  even  more  student participation in the learning process.


Biochemist education, GNU/Linux, Biochemistry didactic material.

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