App review by Emily Pohlonski, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2019
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iNeuron

Learn neuroscience ideas by completing straightforward challenges

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Editorial review by Common Sense Education
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Grades
7–12 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
Science, Communication & Collaboration, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Neuroscience concepts are built and reinforced through explicit instruction and practice.

Cons: iNeuron is limited to a very specific NGSS content standard.

Bottom Line: Either individually or in groups, students can build their own neural circuit.

iNeuron is best for middle school teachers working on the Disciplinary Core Idea (DCI) of Information Processing for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). AP and IB Biology teachers and AP Psychology teachers may also find it useful as an introductory task. Students can get started independently with minimal support. Using the Andamio Dashboard, teachers can track student progress and group students appropriately.

The group play mode provides a powerful collaborative opportunity. Each member of the group controls a different part, so they cannot complete the challenge unless they work together.   

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iNeuron is an app that takes middle and high school students through both content and circuit-building challenges to help them learn about neuroscience. Content challenges ask students to click through slides and read about how nerve cells function and develop. Circuit-building challenges allow kids to apply their new knowledge. They might build a circuit and flex the arm by connecting it to the brain through different types of neurons. This can be done through individual or group play. If group play is selected, all students must participate and work together to complete the circuit. 

iNeuron was developed in partnership with the University of Minnesota. The developers made intentional efforts to connect with and motivate students. Initially, students are given the choice of being a basketball player, a violinist, or a chemist. Their selection continues as a theme throughout the game, with students observing the way their brain changes while learning their selected skill. Attempting to hook student interest, iNeuron poses initial multiple-choice questions for students to guess. Students earn points every time they click as directed. 

Students are also able to track their own progress. Periodically they're asked multiple-choice questions that check for understanding of the text they read previously, and kids receive immediate feedback on their selection. While most of the iNeuron game involves very directed challenges, the Free Play section lets kids get creative, inventing their own circuits. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

This easy-to-use app is fun for a time. Kids don't ask to play again but it gets the job done.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Carefully scaffolded tasks take students through basic to more complex neuroscience ideas. Students can work together to build synapses as a team.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Constant feedback helps students understand the content as they move through the progression of tasks. The app is available in English and Spanish.


Common Sense reviewer
Emily Pohlonski Classroom teacher

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