Minneapolis based consulting and research firm Adventium Labs has developed an educational iOS game called iNeuron that will teach students neuroscience on their electronic devices, reports David Holmes from Pando Daily.
The project's technology lead Martin Michalowski hopes that this game will aid in the effort to bring US students from behind other countries in math and science. Recently the National Research Council and the National Science Teachers Association joined together to make a new set of science standards and Obama's 2014 budget increases STEM education funding by 6.4%.
A grant from the National Institute of Health was used to develop iNeuron, and now the company is using Kickstarter to raise the funds to commercialize the program. The company is hoping to raise $25,000 so it can revamp the rough prototype.
The game was developed with the help of neuroscience researchers from the University of Minnesota. iNeuron teaches the basics of neuroscience by challenging students to complete various brain functions by connect the correct synapses.
For those who may be wondering why neuroscience and not something more common?
"Neuroscience is at the center of a lot of topics high school students need to learn," Michalowski says, including math, biology, and psychology. He isn't alone in thinking this: Neuroscience is included in the Next Generation Science Standardsthat 26 states are looking to implement by 2015. And that's one of the keys to marketing this to teachers. Sure, there are a lot of challenges of reforming education from the bottom-up. But in this case, Adventium Labs has created a tool that addresses a brand new need for teachers where few solutions already exist.
The game has already received rave reviews from kids who got the chance to test it out. Teachers enjoyed it too and said that kids were staying long after the bell rang to continue to play the game. Evaluators then came in to test the kids and see how well the prototype actually taught them the information. They found in some cases students learned more with iNeuron then with traditional instruction.
Adventium Labs wants to continue developing more games such at iNeuron. They have even dedicated a separate division of the company for the game developments called Andamio Games.
In the future they hope to not have to rely on such an unconventional funding model and hope to raise venture funding for the next app by selling and licensing its games.
If Michalowski is successful in commercializing iNeuron, he will have done so by combining government-funding, private innovation, and crowdfunding. And while that might not sound like an easy or repeatable model for others to follow, it reflects the whatever-it-takes approach many are using to reinvent education.