Biology & Horticulture

Please describe your experience with evaluating apps and designing classroom activities.


  1. I've been experimenting with an app called SlideShark which converts Powerpoint presentations into a format useable on the iPad. After downloading, installation and setup were very straightforward. After setting up a SlideShark account, I emailed the presentation that I wanted to convert to myself. To convert the presentation, I accessed the email containing the presentation from the iPad and clicked on the attachment. At this point I was prompted with a query asking if I wished to open the attachment in Slideshark. After selecting this option, the conversion took place and I was able to view the presentation on the iPad. It even preserved my slide animations! I've used it to create an advertisement for my Biotechnology degree and certificate programs, suitable for use at open houses and things of that nature.


  2. I've found a nice bioinformatics app called RSCB PDB, which allows the user to access one of the major proteomic databases in the world (Protein Data Bank) from his/her iPad. The app allows the user to view the latest Protein Data Bank news, get information about the Molecule of the Month, view the protein structures that have been most recently added to the database, search the database for information and structures related to proteins of interest, and login to already established My PDB accounts. Perhaps my favorite feature is the Molecular Viewer. This allows the user to view and manipulate structural protein models on the iPad. The models can be rotated about the x, y, and z axes, enlarged/shrunk as needed, and altered to enhance various features. This app will be very useful in a structural bioinformatics or proteomics module within a biotechnology or bioinformatics course.


  3. Barbara Davis January 10, 2013
    So far I have identified several apps that are free or have been downloaded to my IPad that I see applications in the classroom.
    1. The CDC main app has
    a. Disease of the Week for review in BIO107, Introduction to Human Biology. Also, Vital Signs has summaries of major public health problems that can be used to supplement the disease portion of BIO107,and can be presented as background with the case studies in lab.
    b. There is a section for You Tube videos which categorizes the videos by subject. I am writing a syllabus for a Global Health course and there is a good bank of videos under the global health section.
    c. CDC Podcasts section provides short podcasts on current infectious diseases and diseases which can be easily accessed for discussion in the classroom.
    d. The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report section provides an easily accessible resource with weekly articles for discussion in BIO104, Microbiology.
    2. The CDC Influenza App
    a. Tracks the influenza cases in the US. This is a good resource for the Virology section of BIO104, Microbiology.
    3. McGraw Hill Case Files in Microbiology
    a. Provides background information on various microbiology topics, cases with questions and answers. Study quizzes are available with the full app which must be purchased. This could be used in the Microbiology lecture or lab as an activity.
    4. 3D Brain
    a. The 3D brain provides colored photos of the brain which can be highlighted by structure. The model can be rotated to show various views. There is also a link with descriptions of the structures, associated functions, cognitive disorders and case studies.
    5. Educreations
    a. Provides an opportunity for me to provide a video of my lecture with text/drawings that I would normally write on the whiteboard in the classroom. I can use this approach to provide short lectures for homework then use the time in the classroom for other activities.
    6. Khan Academy
    a. This provides interesting short videos with drawings on topics related to biology. I think that it would be easier for me to just assign a link to a Khan Academy video rather than using the app.
    7. Skype
    a. We plan to use the skype app for short online meetings with the Science Literacy team. Online skype meeting should provide an efficient way to meet with team members when scheduling conflicts limit the number of possible group meetings

    I will be downloading a number of paid Apps in the near future.