Thursday, August 18, 2016

Guest Blog: iNeuron

August greetings, THSP blog readers! Some of you have started back to school, some of you are in staff development, and here in good 'ol Wisconsin, we've still got a few weeks of summer vacation left to soak up the dog days of summer! George, Aaron, and I just returned home from a visit to the Wisconsin Dells, where we did a duck tour and went swimming. I think we have the next Michael Phelps here, people! 

Another gratuitous George photo....sorry, I'll stop soon. 

But vacations and warm days is inevitable, school will start soon for all of us. With school starting, we must get back into thinking like teachers (many of us ALWAYS think like teachers, but you know what I mean....)

I was contacted in the past by Adam Gordon, President of Andamio Games, about their product: iNeuron. Adam's been a big fan and supporter of high school psychology teachers and local TOPSS groups for a few years, generous in supporting local conferences with monetary donations and also the best gel pens EVER. (Fun aside, I enjoy days where I arrive home after a long day of work to find Adam has sent a care package of these pens, randomly and without warning. *Hint *Hint)

Today's Guest Blog is by one of Andemio Games staff members on how she uses iNeuron to enhance student understanding on Neurobiology. Read on:

My name is Dr. Katrina Schleisman, and I’m a lifelong lover of psychology and Instructional Designer for Andamio Games. I’m really happy to announce that we have released a completely new version of the educational app iNeuron: I’ve spent the past two years working on iNeuron, developing new content and coordinating a research study to evaluate its efficacy as an educational tool in the classroom. I’ve worked with several hundred middle and high school students using the app, and it’s been a great experience. As a post-doctoral fellow in neuroscience at the University of Minnesota working with the champion of neuroscience education Professor Janet Dubinsky (, I was able to lend my expertise in the cognitive science of learning and the brain to develop content for iNeuron. The scaffolded lessons and circuit-building challenges in the app are a great way to introduce students to neuroscience in an engaging and interactive way. I presented an early version of the app at our local MNTOPPS conference last year and met some great high school psychology teachers. One of them chose to present iNeuron at the conference this year after we tried iNeuron in his psychology classes.

When using iNeuron in classrooms last year I found it was difficult to monitor what students were doing when they used the tablets. iPads are fun toys, and students used them to take selfies, play music, and do just about anything other than what they were supposed to be doing. Andamio wanted to address this challenge by developing a teacher dashboard tool, and we’re excited to announce that it’s released and ready to go. Prior to when class starts, you can use the dashboard to customize lesson plans for their students, changing what challenges appear on the screen and what challenges students have to complete before moving on to others. During class, you can push those lesson plans out to student devices and then monitor student progress in real time. You get notifications when students have left the app and when students are falling behind the rest of the class. After class, you can generate reports of student performance and understand of what concepts students found easy and what concepts students need more help with. Purchasing the teacher dashboard will unlock all iNeuron content for any student device that connects to it, permanently. You can learn more about the dashboard here:

Last but not least, the culmination of all our work was to conduct an evaluation study of iNeuron this past school year in collaboration with the University of Minnesota. Multiple types of high school science classes in the Twin Cities metro area were included in the study such as biology, psychology, and anatomy and 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. The results showed that students in all conditions showed significant gains from pre- to post-test. These results indicate that iNeuron is an effective pedagogical tool for teaching neuroscience content and can be used in a variety of different approaches. The full results of our evaluation are currently being written up to submit for peer-reviewed publication and we look forward to sharing the details with you when they become available.

Bio: Dr. Katrina Schleisman is the lead Instructional Designer for Andamio Games. She took her first psychology course in high school and didn’t stop until she received her PhD 2014, majoring in psychology and minoring in education sciences. She recently completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the neuroscience department at the University of Minnesota. She’s a Minneapolis native and spends her free time playing music in a local band with her husband and gardening with her cat.

Image result for katrina schleisman
Dr. S sans gardening kitty  (I want a picture of that.)

Have a very, very happy and productive end of August! Enjoy the last few days if you haven't gone back yet! And if you have...Labor Day weekend is coming up fast! 

----Posted by Amy Ramponi 

1 comment:

Adam Gordon said...

Thanks for posting, Amy! I love the shameless baby promotion and the not-so-subtle "request" for more gel pens. We'll have some more made and shipped to Wisconsin, STAT!