4 Top Tools for Teaching Anatomy – Top Hat Blog

Funding is down, enrolment is up. You have more paperwork, less prep time, and are expected to teach the same complex material with less resources and support to bigger classes. Students have more questions and are not afraid to bombard your inbox with them day or night. Sometimes it feels like you are at the mercy of your students, and without the necessary tools to engage with them effectively. You’re not alone. Teaching Anatomy relies on students assimilating detailed information about the human body and various anatomical systems. Whether your department has the facility and funding for dissection or not, Anatomy students are required to understand anatomical features of the human body, anatomical terminology, as well as the macro and micro anatomy of various systems. All of this learning requires time, effort, and diligence on the part of the student, and patience..


The role of technology

University students are addicted to their tech. This habit is nurturing an innate capacity and preference for students to communicate in multiple modes. Gone are the days when face-to-face speaking and listening were the only way to interact. The medium is now phone calling, video chatting, emails, text messages or tweets, and in conversations which can span hours or days in always-on social networks and message boards.

The effect of this new multi-modal communication habit is that students are learning more things, in more ways, more often, and faster than ever before. With all of these new ways and opportunities to interact, it can be challenging to lasso the attention of a room full of even the best intentioned digital natives for more than a few moments at a time.

Help students develop response ability

Part of the challenge resides in students’ own response ability, which is he ability to consciously choose to focus awareness on a particular place, at a particular time–for example, on your lecture slides, during class–rather than frenetically focusing and refocusing on the next notification with little choice in the matter.

As a professor, your role as a modern educator is more important than ever. It’s up to professors to provide students with the opportunity to break this unwitting bad habit. This is a gift that will benefit students in the classroom and in everyday life growing up in the 21st century.

Using these digital tools in your classroom can help students learn the essentials of your Anatomy syllabus, and to develop and strengthen their innate response ability.

1. Visible Body

Using Visible Body in conjunction with dissection or prosection methodologies can enhance traditional Anatomy lessons and help stretch thin funding budgets further. Smart phones are ubiquitous, and 3D models are as familiar as pencil cases and whiteout once were. Using 3D models to help students visualize an Anatomy lesson on their personal mobile devices is a heck of a lot cheaper and more feasible than securing a dozen cadavers and the facilities necessary to dissect them.

3D models of the human body can be rotated and zoomed, and different organs can be highlighted and viewed in cross-section for more detail. Choose from a variety of short, original animations and illustrations to better understand anatomical processes. This application is a useful reference tool that provides detailed visualizations of human anatomy, descriptions, term pronunciation, and useful quizzes.



2. Top Hat

Stop wasting time wondering whether your students are understanding your lecture material, or worrying about whether your first-years are listening to you or playing on Facebook. Top Hat turns students’ tech devices – typically inimical devices of distraction – into dynamic engagement instruments.

Top Hat is leading the charge when it comes to modern, easy to use, classroom engagement technology. Top Hat can be used by any student who owns a laptop, tablet, or mobile device.

The platform excels at facilitating multi-modal, large, or small group interaction. Top Hat’s Discussions module can help create an open-forum, i- class conversation about how the limbic or cardiovascular system functions, or be a place for students to post questions about confusing terms from lecture, or even used as a space to debate the diagnosis of a particular condition or disease. The real-time feedback and response stimulates interest and rewards participation.

Aside from making attendance tracking a cinch, Top Hat’s Question module also turns quizzes into interactive gamified learning experiences. Upload an image of the digestive system and have students identify various parts by clicking or tapping the image from their device. Once responses have been submitted, take up the exercise in real time to gauge student’s level of understanding, while giving the class some context of their performance by displaying a heat map of where each student clicked on the digestive system.

3. Cyber-Anatomy

Cyber-Anatomy’s software and hardware systems are genuine next-gen technology for teaching Anatomy. This software is used by academics, health professionals, and students at every level to offset the costs associated with dissection labs. Users can fully interact with the anatomy to ‘peel’ muscles, follow nerve roots, examine skeletal anatomical landmarks, understand muscle insertions and origins, and look at minute details of organs.

Cyber-Anatomy Virtual Reality systems are powered by high-end PC workstations. The optics system consists of a large screen that is rear-projected by two powerful 3D projectors, and allows for several users to sit or stand in front of the screen. LCD shutter glasses allow observers to interact with anatomical structures that float like holograms in the space between the audience and the screen. The visuals give a true feeling of depth, which can aid in teaching or instruction. Using a three-dimensional pointing device, the instructor is able to manipulate the structures in real time.

4. Sectra Visualization Table

With the Sectra Visualization Table, Anatomy lessons are enhanced using interactive, natural-size 3D views of real patients’ anatomy, rendered from CT or MR images. Users can visualize skeletal tissue, muscles, organs, and soft tissue by virtually slicing, segmenting, or peeling off layers of tissue. It helps students gain a deeper understanding of the functions and processes inside the body, and contributes to improved quality of education.

The Sectra Visualization Table can complement anatomy instruction when cadaver-based dissection is not available, or when the cadavers are too few. This way, teaching institutions can increase the exposure of anatomy and hands-on practice for every student, and allow the students to do the virtual dissection over and over again, reducing the learning curve substantially.

Using technology in the classroom in a focused, deliberate fashion works on multiple  levels. It is engaging because it requires students to engage multiple sense faculties and to respond in multiple ways in a given teaching moment. Digital tools are visual and tactile in the sense that they must been seen and manipulated in order for users to receive feedback. In addition to sight and touch, any lesson also activates and demands response from the faculties of hearing and thinking.

Source: 4 Top Tools for Teaching Anatomy – Top Hat Blog

This entry was posted in PIDP 3240- Media Enhanced Learning and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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