BIOL 211 Anatomy and Physiology I - Garbrecht

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About This Article

This article describes how mobile computing, specifically tablets, was piloted in Prof. Mark Garbrecht's BIOL 211 Anatomy and Physiology I class to transform teaching and learning.

Intended Audience

WSU instructors interested in past faculty experience with tablet devices in the classroom.

Summer 2013 iPad Pilot

Students in this course had access to an iPad tablet to use throughout the summer semester along with several apps selected by Dr. Garbrecht for use in class and in the field.

How the iPads are Used in BIOL 211

Students used iPads with anatomy applications to clarify, reinforce, and supplement information from lecture and laboratory components. The application included audio/visual animations and tutorials covering concepts that are often difficult to comprehend and visualize. These concepts include transcription/translation, osmosis/diffusion, active transport, generation of action potentials, and excitation-contraction coupling of muscle cells.

Additionally, the application included a dissector that allowed students to review their basic anatomy and histology outside of the lab. The app could be customized to specifically cover material which was presented in lab and allowed students to quiz themselves to gauge their own comprehension and retention.

Dr. Garbrecht hoped to realize the following outcome from using the iPads in his pilot:

  • Increased comprehension and retention. This was evidenced by increased scores on laboratory practical exams. as well as enhanced comprehension of select concepts discussed during the lecture component of the class.


Changes in the classroom

  • Students were afforded one more avenue for study. The iPad with the application did not replace the lecture or the lab time but instead served as an additional resource for studying and self testing.
  • Improved scores in some areas of work. While not all areas of assessment saw improvement with the addition of the application, basic histology of human tissues and the anatomy and histology of the integumentary system saw an 11% increase over the average scores of the past two summers.


  • Look at other application offerings. The app used in this pilot was more expensive than others offered by McGraw-Hill and others and is missing some features like learning and assessment tools. The AP Revealed app is not available on the Android platform.
  • Run a similar pilot in Anatomy and Physiology II. Some of the features of the AP Revealed app were not used in the first AP class but fit the objectives of the second class.

iPad Applications Employed in BIOL 211

Professor Garbrecht used the following applications in his BIOL 211 tablet pilot:

  • Anatomy & Physiology Revealed

Descriptions, pricing, and links to the App Store for each of these applications is available on the iPad Pilot Applications page.

More Information

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