November 1, 2013 (Vol. 33, No. 19)
Strong Points: Provides some educational facts
Weak Points: Can get monotonous
You might say that this app is “contagious.” The Virulent app by the Education Research Challenge Area at the Morgridge Institute for Research (that’s a mouthful) is a science-themed game that also packs an educational punch. You play the part of the Raven Virus, and the object of the game is to infect cells and replicate, all while avoiding “enemies” such as the antibodies produced by B cells. There isn’t much in terms of instructions, so the game requires a bit of trial and error. As you progress through the levels, you learn tidbits about immunology and virology, such as what a budding site is. While playing Virulent won’t make you an expert in either field, the app is simultaneously enjoyable and educational…and nerdy. And who doesn’t love that combination?