Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Local biodiversity educational mobile application

Technology #6325

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Nancy Butler Songer
Managed By
Jessica Soulliere
Using Structured Item Response Theory Models to Analyze Content and Inquiry reasoning Skills in BioKIDS.
In X. Liu and W. Boone (Eds.), Applications of Rasch Measurement in Science Education. Maple Grove, Minnesota; JAM Press. P. 188-211., 2006
Scientific Content and Inquiry Reasoning
In S. Barab and K. Hay (Eds.) The Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbuam. P. 196-202.,
Curriculum-Focused Professional Development: Addressing the Barriers to Inquiry Pedagogy in Urban Classrooms.
In R. Floden and E. Ashburn (Eds.), Leadership for Meaningful Learning Using Technology: What Educators need to know and do. New York: Teachers College Press. P. 70-86., 2006
BioKIDS: An Animated Conversation On the Development of Complex Reasoning in Science
In R. Keith Sawyer (Ed.), Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences. New York: Cambridge University Press. P. 355-369, 2006
Rethinking Sustainability of Curricular Innovations: Notes from Urban Detroit.
Scale Up in Education: Issues in Practice. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. P. 165-1, 2007
Digital Resources versus Cognitive Tools: A Discussion of Learning Science with Technology., 2007
How and When Does Complex Reasoning Occur? Empirically Driven Development of a Learning Progression Focused on Complex Reasoning About Biodiversity
Journal of Research in Science Teaching 46(6) p.610-63, 2009

Technology-driven and mobile-based education is becoming a common teaching method in formal and informal educational environments. Students today are very comfortable with using mobile technologies and educators and families are beginning to use mobile applications and curriculum packages to facilitate learning through the use of games and interactive education tools. The market for game-based learning applications is expected to grow from $1.5B in 2012 to $2.3B in 2017.

Mobile application improving science literacy and teaching about biodiversity

BioKIDS is a mobile application which teaches learners about local biodiversity and increases scientific literacy. Users log field observations about local flora and fauna and then analyze the collected data to interpret biodiversity. The application can be used in schools or by families at home or at informal science education institutes. BioKIDS helps students to create explanations which are reasoned and accurate and the curriculum has been aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.


  • K-12 education
  • Informal education settings
  • Nature or zoo kids programs
  • Home use
  • Libraries


  • Enhances understanding of biodiversity and ecology in grades 4-6
  • Uses innovative structures observation tools to collect data on local biodiversity
  • Employs well-tested learning progressions to build scientific literacy
  • Inquiry-driven curriculum aligned with NGSS standards and well-tested in classrooms