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Using iCell by HudsonAlpha

January 19, 2013

This week, my CASE AFNR students used the iCell app by HudsonAlpha. The task was to sketch a plant and animal cell, label the cell organelles, and describe what the function of the organelles were. Additionally, students had to identify differences between plant and animal cells. In addition to the plant and animal cells, bacteria is also illustrated on the app.


iCell is a great interactive way for students to engage in exploring the cell. It helps them to visualize the relationship between organelles. Tapping on an organelle reveals a description. There are three levels of description which allows students to explore the organelle function. I had my students use the intermediate level.

Although my students liked the app, enjoyed the 3D imagery (They thought the animal cell was a lot “cooler” than the plant cell as far as “popping” out at you.) and were able to explore what the cell organelles did, they had a few suggestions.

1.  Have a search option so if there is an organelle that they can’t find by navigating around the cell the app zooms in on it.

2. Create a way to have both the plant cell and animal cell image to be open in windows next to each other for easier comparison. They said this would really be helpful if you could search for an organelle and if it was in both the cells would spin to get to it and if it wasn’t in one of the cells an X would come up on it so you knew.

  1. It’s exciting to see how you are using iCell with your students – it is exactly why we created the app! The suggestions given by your students are great – we’re compiling a list of user-provided feedback for our next version of iCell. I’d welcome the opportunity to start a conversation with you regarding how the students are using technology to understand complex scientific topics.

  2. cann8 permalink

    My students and I used icell to compare and contrast plant and animal cells using Venn diagrams. Students reading above grade level used the advanced text, at grade level used intermediate, etc. Students also used icell as a reference when creating a gelatin model of a cell to label and explain the function of each organelle. Great app!

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