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SBIR Phase I: Teaching Cell Biology with Multimedia Apps that Use Tactile Instruction
Phone: (561) 988-0550
Phone: (561) 988-0550
This SBIR Phase I project proposes to develop a series of mobile device (iPad, iPhone, Android device) Apps targeted at teaching fundamentals of cell biology to high school and college level students. The program will be designed to increase student interest and enthusiasm for science, with a resulting increase in academic achievement. Traditional lectures and textbooks are poorly suited for inquiry-based exploration of complex science concepts and thus leave students with a fragmented knowledge and little sense of the creative achievements of science, its universality, and its inherent logic and consistency. Furthermore, existing biology education computer simulations for mobile devices waste the power of the platform by using its tactile capabilities to answer multiple choice questions or select a "next" button. The proposed apps effectively utilize the tactile capabilities of mobile devices to facilitate in-depth processing of the information being presented and thus will fully utilize the power of the mobile device platform to enrich the learning experience. The apps will integrate instructive animations, truly interactive exercises that stimulate active learning, and built-in assessment tools to provide high fidelity instruction. By utilizing novel tactile learning techniques, the apps will enhance knowledge gain and move beyond traditional multimedia instruction. The broader/commercial impact of these efforts is to help increase U.S. student interest and achievement in science, which is essential if the U.S. is to remain a global leader in the science-based innovation economy. According to the National Science Board, large majorities of 4th, 8th and 12th graders were not proficient in the knowledge and skills taught at their grade level in the U.S. in 2009. And while the average science literacy score of U.S. 15-year-olds improved slightly in 2009 from 2006, the U.S. score was lower than the score of 12 out of 33 other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) nations participating in the assessment. Furthermore, the U.S. had a 77% graduation rate in 2008, earning a rank of 18 out of 25 OECD countries for which graduation rate data were available. These learning deficiencies extend into college and beyond, which will impact the future of the robust U.S. life science-based industry. Additionally, an understanding of cell biology is important to the general population because familiarity with cell biology and an understanding of how advances in this field will affect health, personal and societal issues is becoming increasingly important to health literacy.
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