At Auburn Riverside High School we brought all 20 of our iPads and had the students use them to do research for a cell poster presentation. The class size was around 30 students so a few kids had to partner up together but a good majority of them had their own iPad to do research on.
They used the iPads in a couple distinct ways to maximize their studying. They used four different apps as well as the internet to research their particularly assigned cell. The students started off by using Hudson Alpha iCell, an app I had blogged about in the past. It is a great tool to just give a general over view to the three different types of cells with a good visual representation. This app turned out to be the best fitting for this high school basic biology as it is easily navigated and the descriptions come in three different levels of complexity with the most basic being the best suited for a high school setting.
The other three apps used were Virtual Cell Animations, Cell and Cell Structure by Emantras Inc, and 3D Cell Simulation & Stain Tool by Invitrogen Corp.
Virtual Cell Animations is a pretty in depth app but the interface can be a bit clunky and difficult to navigate if you’re just looking for specific information. Cell and Cell Structure also has similar problems as its a good tool if you’re just interested in browsing and finding general information but less desirable if you’re looking for anything exact.
3D Cell Simulation and Staining Tool by Invitrogen is an application mostly used by the BioTech industry to sell various stains they use when doing research. However, the application has some great real life photographs of organelles.
The students were able to easily do their project research from their desks without being disruptive or off task too badly. The iPad is a great tool for students because it physically engages them where a computer still seems like a terminal to access instead of an extension of your everyday life.