In my constant search for innovative teaching strategies to engage my nursing students and hold their attention, I found a couple new tools that have been a big hit in my class: Visible Body 3-D (http://www.visiblebody.com/index.html) and Socrative (http://b.socrative.com/login/teacher/).
Visible Body 3D is a professional software program that provides anatomical models of the human body that can be manipulated to remove layers of tissue, add/delete organs to improve the view of an area, and full 360 degree rotation of the model for extensive views of the body and organ systems. It is compatible with iPads, iPhones, Android devices, PCs, and Macs. The combination of visual and kinesthetic learning, realistic images, and ease of use makes this an effective teaching tool, both in the classroom and for individual study. Students were captivated by the detail of the animations and extensive flexibility of the program.
Socrative is a smart student response system that allows students to use whatever technology they have to log into a teacher’s online classroom and participate in quizzes, games, quick classroom assessments of learning, and to clarify concepts. Teachers are provided a free account and assigned a classroom number. Students log in and can answer questions via iPhones, Androids, PCs, or tablets, without fear of embarrassment if they answer incorrectly. Assessments can be done at any time during the class, for a quick pulse check of learning, allowing the teacher to receive immediate feedback and correct misconceptions. Fun carnival-like games, such as Space Race, allow students to work together on teams to answer questions, which move their “spaceships” across the screen in a race. Results are emailed to faculty email address for storage, compilation, and provide data for curriculum review/revision. As students use their own devices, there is no cost to the school, no need for instructions, and it actively engages the students in the learning process.
Through a process called neuroplasticity, the brain can grow and develop with continued use and challenging learning opportunities. Students who are actively engaged in the learning process, using technology such as Visible Body 3D and Socrative, are using visual, auditory, and kinesthetic methods, which provide the varied strategies to meet individual learning styles. Providing small success in learning boosts students’ sense of self-efficacy, enhancing academic persistence, even in the face of challenging assignments, and can aid in preparation for major tasks, such as exams.