Product Review of iNeuron
iNeuron is an app that takes middle and high school learners through both content and circuit-building challenges to help them learn about neuroscience. Content challenges ask learners to click through slides and read about how nerve cells function and develop. Circuit-building challenges allow kids to apply their new knowledge. They might build a circuit and flex the arm by connecting it to the brain through different types of neurons. This can be done through individual or group play. If group play is selected, all learners must participate and work together to complete the circuit.
iNeuron is best for middle school educators working on the Disciplinary Core Idea (DCI) of Information Processing for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). AP and IB Biology educators and AP Psychology educators may also find it useful as an introductory task. Students can get started independently with minimal support. Using the Andamio Dashboard, educators can track student progress and group learners appropriately.
The group play mode provides a powerful collaborative opportunity. Each member of the group controls a different part, so they cannot complete the challenge unless they work together.
iNeuron was developed in partnership with the University of Minnesota. The developers made intentional efforts to connect with and motivate learners. Initially, learners are given the choice of being a basketball player, a violinist, or a chemist. Their selection continues as a theme throughout the game, with learners observing the way their brain changes while learning their selected skill. Attempting to hook student interest, iNeuron poses initial multiple-choice questions for learners to guess. Students earn points every time they click as directed.
Students are also able to track their own progress. Periodically they’re asked multiple-choice questions that check for understanding of the text they read previously, and kids receive immediate feedback on their selection. While most of the iNeuron game involves very directed challenges, the Free Play section lets kids get creative, inventing their own circuits.
Overall User Consensus About the App
This easy-to-use app is fun for a time. Kids don’t ask to play again but it gets the job done.
Curriculum and Instruction
Carefully scaffolded tasks take learners through basic to more complex neuroscience ideas. Students can work together to build synapses as a team.
Constant feedback helps learners understand the content as they move through the progression of tasks. The app is available in English and Spanish.