HudsonAlpha iCell

App review by
Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Media
HudsonAlpha iCell App Poster Image
Colorful graphics give kids a cool peek inside cells.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Navigation is very easy, and interactive features are intuitive. It's hard to get lost in this app.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

A few links on the home page take users to the developer's website and a partner website. A feedback button takes users to the app store. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that HudsonAlpha iCell is a free reference app with cool, interactive graphics that help kids learn about three kinds of cells at their own pace. Different levels of text make the app appealing to a variety of ages. Because the app is mainly interactive pictures with text, some kids may not be engaged for very long; after tapping on all the structures in the three cells, there's nothing new to explore. 

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What's it about?

HUDSONALPHA ICELL is very straightforward. Kids tap to choose animal, bacteria, or plant cell on the main page. Each cell is colorfully designed, but none of the structures is labeled. Therefore, beginners may have a difficult time navigating their way through the cells and remembering what they learned. Once kids tap on a structure, its name pops up and explanatory text appears at the bottom of the screen. Sometimes the screen automatically zooms in on a structure, but kids can zoom in or out and can rotate cells for a 360-degree view using their fingers. At any point after selecting a cell type, kids can choose from three text options: basic, intermediate, or advanced. Basic text typically gives one or two short sentence descriptions of structures, intermediate gives longer descriptions with additional vocabulary, and advanced gives very detailed descriptions with challenging vocabulary.

Is it any good?

For a free tool, HudsonAlpha iCell is worth a try for kids who're interested in biology and cell structures. Three text levels make it adaptive for a wide range of learners, and kids will enjoy the colorful, interactive illustrations. There is plenty to learn about each type of cell, but, without challenges or activities to test their knowledge, kids might lose interest rather quickly. So long as kids aren’t looking for countless hours of engagement, the app is a decent tool for teaching kids about cells.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • After exploring all three cell types, ask kids to create a graphic organizer listing similarities and differences of the cells.

  • Print out unlabeled diagrams of each cell type and challenge kids to label the structures. 

App details

For kids who love science

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