OnScreen Gene Transcription
by OnScreen Science, Inc.

Price at time of review: $3.99
OnScreen Science, Inc.
Somerville, MA

Grade Level: 6-College

Reviewed by Thomas Brown
Retired Science Teacher

The OnScreen DNA Transcription app is an easy to use tool that can help biology teachers illustrate the process of DNA transcription and deepen their understanding of the steps and molecules that allow DNA to create proteins. The program allows the user to go through the entire process of DNA transcription using a variety of visual and written information to demonstrate the transcription process.

The app comes with a complete selection of written information organized with a table of contents that permits the user to examine aspects of the transcription process in more detail. The information includes an overview of DNA structure, the rules about the formation of nucleotides and more. Besides that basic information about DNA, the app also explores the essential enzymes used in the transcription process as well as explains the significance of nucleic acid polarity, the enzymes used in the process, and the role of messenger RNA. All of this information is easily accessed due to the simple organization that is used on the primary screen.

OnScreen DNA Transcription provides opportunities for teachers and students to explore and expand their understanding of the transcription process. As transcription unfolds on the screen, users can hit pause and stop this process at each step in the process in order to allow time to study the process closer. The app could be used as a classroom tool for the teacher to show the transcription process to an entire class from several views. Besides watching the creation of an mRNA molecule on the main screen, students can observe nitrogen bases being laid down to create the new mRNA at the bottom of the page and read a simple narration of the process at the top. Teachers could project these graphics to show students how this process unfolds while hitting the pause button to stop the process when necessary to allow for further explanation as well as questioning.

Biology teachers who are looking for a low–cost resource to enhance their students’ comprehension of DNA transcription will want to consider adding this app to their toolbox if they have moved to using iPads in their classroom. The graphic nature of the app will keep students' attention and improve their ability to visualize all that happens during DNA transcription.

Review posted on 2/21/2014

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