mLearning Apps for Biology 30

IOS applications to enhance the learning of Science!

What is mLearning?

The collaboration, sharing, and consumption of knowledge inside and outside the classroom through any handheld portable device.

Biology 30 Curriculum

The units below are the core topics that are taught to Grade 12 students in Alberta. The applications I've chose will supplement my students learning of these four topics

1. Nervous & Endocrine Systems
2. Reproduction & Development
3. Cell Division, Genetics, & Molecular Biology
4. Population & Community Dynamics

The Apps to Enhance Student Learning


In my classroom, I would use this application during my students molecular biology unit. Using Apple devices, such as iPads or iPhones, students can follow along on their own devices while I go through the different organelles in each cell. By having the students use a mobile device, they can clearly see the detail of each organelle on their own personalized screen rather than projected onto the SmartBoard.  This application is great for visual learners as it is colourful and visually pleasing. It gives learners a sense of whats happening within their own cells. This tool could also be used by students for a review tool; the information for each cell is a great study resource.

iCell provides interactive 3D views of the intracellular structures of animal, plant, and bacterial cells. There is a 360 degree view of each organelle as well as zoom feature which allows to see the organelles in a detailed manner. The "expertise" feature allows you to chose your knowledge level of beginner, intermediate, and advanced, and the reading material on the application changes based on your preference.  

Brain Tutor 3D

Brain Tutor 3D is a free IOS application that focuses primarily on the human brain. It explores the brain structures using 3D MRI scans. Brain structures and functions are outlined in the application in extensive detail. The application also allows you to slice the brain to give you different angles of the hemispheres.

This application would be a great study tool for students during the Nervous System unit. The brain contains many structures that serve a variety of functions which can be hard for students to memorize. With an interactive app, students are more likely to be engaged in the material which aids memorization. I would hope students would use this application repeatedly to help them solidify their knowledge of the brain structures that I've mentioned in class.


Mitosis is an interactive learning experience that walks the student through the process of the cell division. Each phrase is explained and compared to both an animated video or screenshots of actual microscopic images. There is a "Read & Listen" audio option that explains mitosis as the video runs. There are interactive quizzes to test students knowledge, a full glossary of important terms, and provides other sources on mitosis.

This would be a key application in my Cell division unit as it is very detailed on that units subject matter. I would encourage students to purchase this app for its study capabilities. I could also use this to supplement a lab activity in which students look at slides under a microscope of cells undergoing the phases of cell division. The slides would be in a random order and using the application, they would match their slides to the microscopic screenshots in the app.

OnScreen DNA Model

This application provides a 3D virtual models and animations of DNA structure and chemical components. It ensures students know the basic information on the different molecules associated with DNA, along with the chemical bonding involved. It then displays different DNA processes like replication & denaturation and allows students to watch how DNA handles different laboratory conditions.

I would integrate this mLearning app into my molecular biology unit. Some students find DNA a hard idea to conceptualize, especially if they don't know the basic structural components. This app not only teaches students about the basic building blocks, but it also applies the basics to the overall structure of the DNA. This app is great for visual learners who need to SEE the structure to understand the functionality. An app like this could be used as a pre-activity for students to start thinking about the concept of DNA or as a study tool for students struggling with the concept.

Powers of Minus Ten
Cells & Genetics

Through a powerful zooming feature, students can explore the cells and molecules in different body parts. This application is a general introduction to cells and molecular processes. Cell division, DNA replication, translation, and cell parts are among the topics focused upon in this application.  

I would use this application as a refresher for my cell & molecular biology unit. Students could use this to remind themselves of the basics of cells and different molecular processes they would have learnt in earlier science classes. The instructional mini games included make it enjoyable for learners so they keep engaged. This is another great choice for visual learners because it shows how all the different cells and molecular processes in the body are all interconnected.

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