Technology and engineering constantly generate new tools for teachers to enhance educational opportunities both in the classroom and online. However, harnessing these tools to promote meaningful learning can be more of an issue for educators. Biology Teaching and Learning faculty member Murray Jensen hopes an upcoming project will do exactly that.
Jensen, along with colleagues from Realityworks, Inc. and Innovative Design Labs recently received a $1.7 million award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to develop mixed-reality resources to use in STEM education. In particular, the team hopes to develop tools that will prompt students to study health sciences.
“We hope to create a tool that gets students interested in studying these fields, including everything from nursing and physical therapy to engineering and the medical device industry,” says Jensen.
Within this team, Jensen will lead the educational curriculum design for the project. After developing varied elements of the tool, the group will work with local educators and students through the Colleges in the Schools program to see what works or needs refinement. He sees the potential for this tool to not only engage K-12 students in a new way, but offer new educational opportunities than some of the other resources currently out in the marketplace.
“The big difference that I see is that this device will be able to demonstrate physiology – such as the changes a body undergoes while going from rest to full exertion during exercise,” he says. “It might also be used to show how the body responds to chronic events such as diabetes. There are lots of possibilities.”