Biology textbooks, charts and plastic models are essential tools for teaching human anatomy and physiology in most high school classrooms.
Another excellent learning tool brings technology into the classroom mix in the form of an educational app for smartphones and digital tablets called “Visual Anatomy Free.”
Developed by Education Mobile, the free app is an interactive education and reference tool that uses high-resolution illustrations to show regions of the human body along with muscles, organs and bones and how they are connected.
The app includes numerous interactive study and navigation features, including:
- Detailed muscle descriptions
- High-resolution images
- Quick search navigation
- Quiz mode
- Rotational organ 3D overview
This app can be an especially helpful study resource for college-bound high school students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses. Many colleges require students to have completed STEM subjects as part of their selection process.
How it works
The “Visual Anatomy Free” app launches with a simple interface showing 14 thumbnail images of various parts of the human anatomy. Among them are organs, muscles, skeleton, the digestive system, ears and eyes.
Students tap on the topic thumbnail they want to study, and a detailed anatomy illustration appears. Five icons at the bottom of the screen help students navigate through each page.
Using their fingers to tap the image, students can zoom in for a closer look or drag the image to study different areas of it. Each illustration includes numerous “feature points” that show specific parts of the body that make up a region. Each one is marked with an “x” that students can tap to see the name of the body part. Clicking the “I” icon (information) in the navigation area calls up a written description of the body part and tells how it works. To revisit the main page, students tap the “return” icon in the lower right corner of each page.
Tools and navigation on all pages work the same except for the “Organ” page, which includes a special three-dimensional interactive illustration that lets students rotate and view the image from multiple angles by dragging it with a finger. To use that feature, students tap the “3D” icon in the navigation area.
Another excellent feature in the app is a collection of eight overview illustrations from the “Gray’s Anatomy” textbook written by Henry Gray, a 19th-century British surgeon and author. For more than 100 years, updated versions of the book have been widely studied and used as a reference guide in the medical and education fields. Body parts in each illustration are clearly labeled, and students can tap the image to zoom in for a closer look.
With the quick search navigation feature, students can type in the name of a body part and the app will display it along with a short description. From there, the app provides a link to more detailed Wikipedia entries on the Internet.
Finally, students can take a multiple-choice quiz after studying each anatomy section. The 22-question quiz is self-paced and automatically scored. Students can repeat the quiz as many times as they like.
There are 58 high-resolution images and more than 250 human anatomy feature points in the “Visual Anatomy Free” app. Once the app has been downloaded into a device, it can be used anywhere without an Internet connection. However, an Internet connection is needed to follow anatomy reference Wiki search links.
A link to download a full version of the app is also included on the main page. The full version includes more than 1,200 images and extra quiz questions, and can be downloaded for a fee.
The “Visual Anatomy Free” app is free. It can be downloaded through Google Play and Amazon Appstore and is compatible with smartphones and tablets running the Android operating system 2.3 or later. The app is also available on iTunes under the name “Visual Anatomy Lite.” It is compatible with iPhones and iPad tablets running iOS version 4.3 or later.