Using augmented reality, high school students at West Potomac Academy in Fairfax County, Virginia, examined the inside of a human heart and a full skeleton.
A 45-foot-long bus filled with interactive displays and other tools that use augmented and virtual reality offered opportunities to learn more about health care job opportunities.
“Everyone seems to be more engaged a lot more than they would be if they were in a classroom like listening to a teacher lecture,” said Taralyn Bailey, a senior who wants to study pharmacology.
The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences and Medi-Corps Program brought their Immersive Learning Center to West Potomac Tuesday morning. Dozens of high schoolers interested in health care hopped on the bus and participated in an interactive exercise that highlights different health care careers.
“We start with an injury on a football field. We have that athletic trainer come out and try to help the student, and then it just moves along to the EMTs that bring him to George Washington University, our nurses, our medical laboratory scientists, medical assistants, radiographers and surgeons,” said Linda Zanin, the director of Strategic Partnerships for The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “And we just go right down the line, and we eventually end with rehabilitation sciences.”
The new program from The George Washington University will collaborate with all the Governor’s Health Sciences academies in Fairfax, Loudoun, Arlington and Alexandria. The goal is to expose students to the more than 250 different health science professions and expand their knowledge to many fields beyond just nurses and doctors.
“I feel exposing them to that is showing them what they’re actually going to be doing in real life, especially if the students don’t have the time in their schedule to do an internship or externship; gives them an opportunity to come to see what’s going to happen in the real world,” said dental careers teacher with Fairfax County Rene Guerrero Ruiz.
The team from GWU also brought iPads complete with augmented reality that explore human anatomy and allow students to fully explore any other system, such as the nervous, circulatory or lymphatic systems.
“We can’t bring cadavers to the students to dissect. But they can actually do that with this incredibly powerful tool,” Zanin said.
The bus is expected to visit three more Fairfax County Public Schools academies in the coming weeks.