Results of Testing
Educational researchers from the University of Minnesota conducted an evaluation study of iNeuron in several Twin Cities metro area high schools with the goal of determining the efficacy of iNeuron as an educational tool. Multiple types of high school science classes were included in the study such as biology, psychology, and anatomy & physiology.
During the 4-day study period, students took a pre-test of neuroscience content knowledge on Day 1, used iNeuron in class on Days 2 and 3, and took a post-test of neuroscience content knowledge on Day 4. Classes were assigned to different experimental conditions to test different approaches to using iNeuron with students. Some classes were assigned to a control condition in which teachers taught regular neuroscience lessons in place of iNeuron on Days 2 and 3.
In a multi-classroom study with nearly 400 high-school students, we showed that classes that used iNeuron showed larger gains in neuroscience concept knowledge than control classes that received standard neuroscience instruction. This held true for different implementations of the app in which students worked individually and in groups, and had varying levels of control over sequencing information. These results indicate that iNeuron is an effective pedagogical tool for neuroscience and can be used in a variety of ways. The full results of our evaluation are in press in the peer-reviewed Journal of Science Education & Technology.
This study was funded by a two-year grant from the National Institute on Mental Health (under Award Number R43MH096674) to improve K-12 neuroscience education.
Student (and teacher) responses from the initial studies were also encouraging:
“Every time I’ve used iNeuron in class, 100% of the kids were engaged.”
“This goes way beyond what my textbooks have.”
“I want this in my middle school class now. Can you do a pilot test with us?”
“I just finished teaching this topic. This is such a better way of teaching it.”
“Putting pieces together is helpful—far beyond identifying parts of the neuron.”
“I’m an applied learner. This makes it more understandable because it’s applied, you’re applying what you’re learning which is cool.”
“I’m a very visual learner, so when I could see the neuron connections, it really helped.”
“Technology makes us pay more attention.”
“This was cool!”