Mobile Applications in Cell Biology Present New Approaches for Cell Modelling

Mayara Lustosa de Oliveira & Eduardo Galembeck Published by Journal of Biological Education, October 2015

Cell biology apps were surveyed in order to identify whether there are new approaches for modelling cells allowed by the new technologies implemented in tablets and smartphones. A total of 97 apps were identified in 3 stores surveyed (Apple, Google Play and Amazon), they are presented as: education 48.4%, games 26.8% and medicine 15.4%. The apps were arranged by representation similarities of the cell models, and then the groups were nominated. The name of each one was based in recurrent terms on the apps descriptions and the definition is grounded in the literature. Thus, we categorized those apps in six modelling groups, not mutually exclusive: 32% three-dimensional, 25% bi-dimensional, 14% realistic, 14% animation, 11% scale and 4% playful. Each model has unique characteristics. Three-dimensional models can present proportional scales of organelles that allow immersion in the cell model. Realistic models and animations can be used to explore the dynamics of the cell functioning. The cell models designed for smartphones and tablets bring handling capabilities not found in computers and notebooks; they also have the potential to deliver content with high levels of interactivity and are accessible anytime and anywhere. Regarding the applicability of the cell models available in the apps, this paper offers some suggestions of classroom use based on the features of the models and examples found in the literature.

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Using a web analysis tool to evaluate an educational app usage

Mayara Lustosa de Oliveira & Eduardo Galembeck Published by International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation (IJMLO), August 2015

Educational application evaluations are usually focused in functional aspects; however, factors such as learning difficulties can also be investigated. In this study, the potential of Google Analytics (GA) to collect usage data from an educational app was evaluated, aiming to both improve the app interface and empower its educational usage. Thus, the statistics tools available in GA were used to answer the following questions: who are the app users? How long the users stay on the app? How do users interact with the application? What content do users view more frequently? What are the critical dropout points? The obtained results demonstrate, among other things, that the users were spread through all continents, 58.7% of the sessions lasted between 2 and 17 minutes and there is no critical dropout point. GA was able to answer all these questions and it can be an effective tool to evaluate the usage of educational apps.

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Surveying Biochemistry Applications for Mobile Devices To Compare Availability and Topics Covered

Thanuci Silva & Eduardo Galembeck Published by Journal of Chemical Education, May 2015

We have surveyed the main mobile application stores to identify the coverage of the biochemistry applications and what kinds of applications are available in such stores. We have found that instructional apps, such as Books and Flash Cards, are the most frequent mobile applications, with 46 occurrences. In terms of subject covered by these applications, the most frequent topics are those related to genes and nucleic acids (20 occurrences), and proteins and amino acids (19 occurrences). With the survey we concluded that online stores have to improve their search engines to allow more accurate searches, and biochemistry applications are still presenting information in a traditional way, not exploring the use of connectivity and interactivity allowed by mobile devices.

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Metabolic pathways visualization skills development by undergraduate students

Vanessa J. S. V. dos Santos and Eduardo Galembeck Published by Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education (ISSN:1539-3429), February 2015

We have developed a metabolic pathways visualization skill test (MPVST) to gain greater insight into our students' abilities to comprehend the visual information presented in metabolic pathways diagrams. The test is able to discriminate students' visualization ability with respect to six specific visualization skills that we identified as key to the understanding of metabolic map diagrams. Application of the MPVST to B. S. Biochemistry students showed that their visualization skills develop informally and progressively during their college years. Furthermore, the complex nature of biochemical pathways, together with students' lack of familiarity with metabolic maps, suggests that it is important for instructors to spend more time than usual explaining visual representations to their students.

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LTE 2024 - Educational Technology Lab - IB - UNICAMP