Teaching Anatomy in a Personalized Way with 3D Dissection
February 15, 2022
Dr. Terry Maksmowych
Dr. Terry Maksmowych is not your average high school anatomy teacher. Terry has 40 years of experience teaching AP Biology and STEM Ethics, and has also taught Neuroscience, Biology, Global Health Ethics, and Medical ethics at high school and undergraduate levels. For the past 38 years, Terry has been teaching at the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur which is an all-girls preparatory high school in Villanova, Pennsylvania. Recently, Terry implemented 3D virtual anatomy dissection to better personalize her class to fit her students' interests.
When Terry’s students at the Academy of Notre Dame began showing interest in the medical field and more specifically interest in biomedical engineering, Terry tailored her Anatomy class to fit her students' interests. Terry currently teaches a class that covers Anatomy and Physiology with Biomedical Engineering applications. She discovered BodyViz 3D Anatomy Software when a long time colleague mentioned BodyViz to her. “My first thought was ‘Oh, I've heard of those types of things at conferences and they're so expensive that there's no way we could afford doing that,” said Terry in a recent interview. Her colleague went on to clarify that BodyViz was more reasonable than some of the other options in the market for virtual anatomy dissection software. Just from word of mouth, Terry investigated and inquired about BodyViz.
Personalizing Class with "Snazzy" Virtual Dissection Software
All of the students at the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur already had MacBook Airs which made it extremely easy to incorporate BodyViz. BodyViz anatomy and physiology software can be used on iPads, laptops, desktops, virtual dissection tables, and projectors. “I was really impressed with the program and what I could do with it. I’m starting off slow, and plan to add a bit more and more over the semesters,” explained Terry. Currently, the students are using the BodyViz Portal High School systematically organized modules to review topics. Terry uses the virtual dissections in lectures and especially likes the BVFs (BodyViz Files) that feature real patient pathologies like an aortic aneurysm, brain tumor, and other virtual body scans. Terry says, “The pathologies are really helpful so that if I'm talking about an aortic aneurysm I can show them a real example. Even though we don't do human cadavers in the class, this allows me to give them the same kind of experience virtually.” Using BodyViz human anatomy software as a cadaver lab resource allows for limitless teaching of anatomy. Terry said, “Everyone was very excited that BodyViz would be offered because it was so snazzy and a great use of technology.” The school, parents, and students like the idea that there are medical schools and nursing schools that are using this type of technology and few high schools, so their students are getting the best.
“I know that the girls play on it at home, looking at all different things they can do. When they hear about someone who has a certain disease or a broken bone or whatever they can go look through the library and learn more about it. I like the ability to upload MRI and CT scans because if a student has a file of their torn ACL or broken bone then we can load that into BodyViz and everybody can see which is really cool!”
- Dr. Terry Maksmowych, Science Faculty at the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur
We asked Terry about what her favorite feature of BodyViz is, and she named multiple favorite features which included our library of images, video tutorials of 3D dissections, and free virtual anatomy YouTube Brain Builder series which includes patient examples. Terry did not find it possible to name just one favorite feature. She also went on to say how impressed she has been with the responsiveness and helpfulness of the BodyViz team in assisting her with incorporating BodyViz into her classes, “They're always offering help and usually they have more offerings than I need at any one time. Any time I have a question, problem, or we're having a tech problem, because originally when we first started, we had some technical difficulties on our side, not your [BodyViz] side - and the BodyViz team were really helpful with working with our tech department to make sure that everyone was getting the the the full experience. I just love it and I'm happy with it and the school itself is feeling that the investment was worth it.” At BodyViz, we believe in a motto of “make anatomy easy” and we are here to support instructors and their students with every step- to make it easy.
Students' and Parents' Thoughts
We asked Terry what her students thought about BodyViz, and she explained, “They are super motivated. I would say the majority of students who take the class are interested in careers in medicine so they feel as if they're already getting a leg up and are already starting to experience things that they're going to see in their professional studies. This gives them confidence knowing that when they see this in nursing school or medical school that they'll be more comfortable with it. It also is a kind of bragging rights: we don't just have pictures, textbooks, or videos with graphics - I mean we have the real stuff!” Terry explained how her student can slip on that persona of a medical professional with BodyViz and get a feel for what it will be like, which the parents love. Some of the parents are physicians and think BodyViz is great and could not wait for the kids to get it downloaded on their computer so the parents can play with it at home. Terry exclaimed, “I think the parents love that they know they're students are getting something that is an extra level that most high schools just don't offer because most high schools do not offer Anatomy and Physiology with Biomedical Engineering, but then on top of that, their students are be able to use the latest tech.”
Terry is going above and beyond for her students at the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur, by providing them with anatomical software that gives them the opportunity for a human body 3D view of real patients! BodyViz 3D virtual anatomy is changing the way students learn anatomy by giving them real experience.
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