By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
The Bradley Central and Walker Valley high school health science programs recently got something many colleges and universities do not even have. Thanks to the $4.5 million federal Youth …
The Bradley Central and Walker Valley high school health science programs recently got something many colleges and universities do not even have.
Thanks to the $4.5 million federal Youth CareerConnect grant that Bradley County Schools began receiving in 2014, the school district was able to buy two Anatomage virtual dissection tables.
These devices, often used in a medical school setting, allow users to view detailed images of true-to-scale human bodies in three dimensions. This allows students to dismantle and see the inner workings of the human body without actually having to work with a cadaver.
"We are so excited to have this tool for our students," said Dr. Linda Cash, director of Bradley County Schools. "These kids do work on these daily, so they will have the chance to get ahead in their knowledge."
Demonstration events were held at Bradley Central and Walker Valley on Monday night to show parents, business partners and other guests how the new devices work.
The touch-screen devices are like giant tablet computers. They can be laid flat, so they resemble tables, or tilted upright so a teacher can easily point out certain things on the screen. They can also be connected to TVs or computer monitors, to provide more presentation opportunities.
With guidance from their teachers, students demonstrated how they can easily see specific organs, tissues and bones, while simulating surgeries and autopsies. The teachers explained that the Anatomage system was created using photographs of real cadavers, so the students were getting a realistic look.
At Walker Valley, teacher Bo Borders explained how the system can be used during lectures and can also be used to quiz students on their knowledge. He stressed students getting the new Anatomage table is "huge," because it allows them to engage with the subject matter in a new way.
"It is really unusual for high schools to have these," Borders added. "There are only 25 high schools in the country that have these, and Bradley County has two of them."
Arlette Robinson, career and technical education director for Bradley County Schools, said health science students used to have to rely on two-dimensional images in textbooks and on posters.
Now, students in these programs can view all the systems of the human body in three dimensions and gain a better understanding of how the body works. Features like an animations which can show how blood is pumped from the heart to specific veins also bring the subject matter to life.
The students who will be working with these devices say they are very excited to be the first to get to study with them. Jordan Fox, a WVHS senior, described it as "an incredible opportunity."
"I love getting to see everything so up-close," said Emmalee Henson, also a senior at WVHS. "It also gives us a great chance to be ahead of other students in college, because we will have worked with this system and will probably know the subject matter a lot better."
A company representative in attendance at the demonstrations said the Anatomage tables start at around $70,000 each.
Robinson noted the Youth CareerConnect grant was given by the U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Education specifically to bolster programs at the two county high schools which teach in-demand job skills. This has allowed the school district to purchase equipment like the Anatomage tables and fund other programming for the students.
Robinson added she is optimistic these new tables will lead to some new business partnerships. She said there is a possibility medical professionals could visit the schools to teach using the Anatomage tables.
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