A decade ago, scientists and clinicians in the College of Veterinary Medicine at The University of Georgia (UGA) were developing interactive software to help their students understand the molecular world of cells. The software enabled students to see the invisible world of ions and molecules and learn some of the most difficult concepts in physiology. Upon hearing about the success of the project, a Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Science Education asked the team a simple question: “Do you think we could do something to help high school science teachers and their students?”
In 2008, the UGA team received a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Institutes of Health. This award enabled the team to partner with high school teachers, game designers, digital artists, computer programmers and science education researchers to create interactive worlds in which students could learn biological concepts through inquiry and problem-solving. The result was the Interactive CasesTM and the formation of IS3D (Interactive Science in 3D) LLC. By working with teachers, IS3D then developed a real time data system (SABLE) to enable teachers to “see” how their students were thinking and to measure the development of critical thinking skills as they completed more cases.
The Interactive CasesTM and SABLE are now available under our brand name Cogent EducationTM that tackle the most challenging concepts in high school biology courses. We’ve come a long way, but we have much further to go as we aim to develop cases for chemistry and physics, and also for middle and elementary science courses. Our mission is to provide teachers with the tools they need to help their students succeed in their science classes. By focusing on problem-solving skills, we hope to provide all young people with the best possible chance to pursue rewarding careers in STEM disciplines.