Jun 23, 2021

This virtual reality table completely changed how high school students study Biology and beyond

Virtual reality technology is no longer a new concept in education. Ideas like “virtual classroom”, “virtual conference,” “virtual sports,” are now being widely implemented in high schools across America. In particular, a school in Los Angeles, California, is integrating the virtual technology in their medical science courses, allowing students to learn more practically and efficiently about the human anatomy and beyond. At Bishop Montgomery High School in Los Angeles, students can access a top-of-the-line device called the Anatomage Table to build a virtual human body model, stimulate different body transformations and understand how internal organs work in a way that is much more intuitive than simply using textbooks.

What is an Anatomage Table?

The Anatomage Table is the most technologically advanced anatomy visualization system available for teachers and students all over the world. It is both a virtual library of human and animal cadavers, as well as a clinical diagnostic tool through any Medical CT, CBCT or MRI scan. The virtual operating table and the Anatomage’s renowned radiology software and clinical diagnosis separate the Anatomage Table from any other imaging system on the market.

Students can use the table to analyze dissectible human and animal cadavers reconstructed through 3D images. The table is pre-loaded with three human cadavers, two males and a female, which were created from real life models. It also has animal cadavers including dog, cat, bird, turtle, and mouse. All cadavers provide life-size modeling of the muscular, skeletal, vascular, and nervous systems for students to dissect and explore. The table is also loaded with more than 1,000 pathological examples and compatible to show MRI and CT scans. 

With a life-size touch screen experience (it can lie flat or be positioned vertically based on users’ demand), the table is fully interactive and responds to finger touches, taps, and swipes, like any tablet. Using fingers or a stylus, students can rotate the 3D cadavers, zoom in and out, perform scalpel cuts and dissections, tap away body parts to view underlying systems, and view the human body and its structures from any angles. Watch the video below to see the table in action!

 

A greatly enhanced learning experience for students

Unveiled this year at Bishop Montgomery, the table is used across a spectrum of classes on campus including Health, Biology, Honors Biology,  Anatomage and Physiology, Honors Anatomy and Physiology, as well as Sports Medicine.

There are only 40 schools in the whole world equipped with this Anatomage table. The average cost of an Anatomage table is around $72,000, while an average cost of a 3D printer is just around $700 in comparison. Even among students enrolled in university-level science and medical programs, not a lot of them have first-hand experience with this level of technological advancement.

Anatomage Table

In a typical Biology class at Bishop Montgomery High School, students will learn about the human skeletal system by using the Anatomage table to see how the cadaver’s real bones fit into the skeletal system, exploring the supporting ligaments and surrounding muscles, and practicing some of the surgeries that could repair those bones. This is a lot more interactive than looking at bones on their Chromebooks and holding samples in their hands. The support that this table has already contributed to the STEM curriculum and lab sessions at Bishop Montgomery High Schoo is truly incredible.

Students who are interested in careers in medicine, like Olivia Pilon ’19, believe the table provides an education far beyond what traditional classroom instruction can offer. "The Anatomage table makes it so much easier to see where in the body everything is and how all of the structures relate to each other," she explains. "For example, learning about connective tissue in the wrist is hard when you cannot see and point to say 'Oh, that's the connective tissue.' With the table, we bring up one of the cadavers, zoom in on the forearm, and open the wrist to explore the structures inside of it. The connective tissue is right there in front of me, as large as I want to make it and all in high resolution." 

Further integration of technology and STEAM curriculum

Aside from the Anatomage table, Bishop Montgomery High School just unveiled their new state-of-the-art STEAM center. The center includes a new, larger IT room, a world languages and eSports lab. While the new labs provide a main hub on campus for all engineering and computer science courses, as well as extracurricular programs like Robotics and eSports, they are also home to a wide variety of Bishop's digital arts classes and clubs. The spaces are perfect for media-focused classes like Studio Art & Design, Graphic Design, Yearbook, and Video Production, and clubs that include the Visual Arts Club and Knightlife, BMHS’ school newspaper. 

Anatomage Table

Here’re some other ways Bishop Montgomery High School is using integrating technology into their academic curriculum and improve students’ learning experience:

  • SWIVL robotic camera: With Swivl’s motion-tracking capabilities, as well as clip-on microphone, teachers can effortlessly move around the room, from laptop to white board to instructional materials, while always staying within the camera’s frame and providing clear audio during online classes.

  • CANVAS: This online learning platform optimizes the educational experience by organizing course materials and resources, promoting collaboration with both real-time and on-demand discussions, and streamlining the creation, distribution, and collection of assignments. 

  • Zoom Pro: An upgrade from the standard Zoom, Zoom Pro utilizes more sophisticated web and video-conferencing software. 

Applications are now open for Fall 2021.