Ahead of this launch, we’ve come together with the author of the book, Andrea Shepherd, to discuss her experience of working with AR and incorporating it into the textual material. A nursing lecturer with nearly 30 years of experience in nursing, Andrea has spent the last 15 years teaching anatomy & physiology (A&P) and pathophysiology to nursing students. She branched out into authorship after noticing a trend among her students to seek help breaking down the breadth of knowledge within the field from essential parts to minute details. In our conversation, we discover what gets Andrea particularly excited when it comes to the upcoming AR version of the book.
For a student studying anatomy, being able to understand is tied to being able to see and interact with the object of their study. Previously this would have been done through the use of cadavers in teaching, but this practice is being largely discontinued.
“Anatomy is very difficult. Looking at the structure of an organ or of a tissue – if students can understand what it looks like, it's easier for them to understand what its job is.” begins Shepherd. “For a lot of students, once they actually can see the organs, and particularly if something comes to life, it's going to be so much more immersive,” she continues.
This is where AR comes into play, as a tool that once again brings students closer to being able to interact in a manner they previously wouldn't be able to do unless they actually had a real organ in their hand, which very few places do have anymore.
When delving deeper into what ideas and concepts within anatomy and physiology could be further explored with AR, Shepherd gets excited about seeing difficult to represent processes such as cell division or the movement of blood and other fluids through the body brought to life before the students’ eyes in AR.
“It would make learning so much easier for students, seeing that type of animation and seeing these processes come to life,” says Shepherd.
Andrea believes AR could in the future be used in pathophysiology as well – to showcase how disease, injury, or other conditions affect patients, as well as the physical and functional changes that happen in those afflicted. In practice, the teacher could then talk about a topic, show it in AR, and then go back to discussing it further, therefore making the AR an integrated part of the lesson. Shepherd elaborates:
“You would be showing them, almost in real-time, what happens when, for example, the development of atherosclerosis, using AR to say ‘A this point, this is what has happened,’ while you interact with the process you are describing.”
AR allows for the possibility for students to study remotely, and see the elements of what they are learning even when not in the classroom. This is material they can access anytime, providing them with more freedom in their learning.
“AR is much more tangible, so students can actually be involved and be immersed in it,” elaborates Shepherd.
Eventually, according to Shepherd, teachers could bring AR into every single element of the topic they are teaching, in different ways, and in this way enrich the topic, and bring it closer to students.
“AR is much more accessible for some students, particularly for students with different learning preferences. There's a lot of research showing that students who do have dyslexia or dyscalculia do come into social sciences and health sciences. So the use of this type of technology makes learning much more inclusive. And it might actually mean that they don't feel that they struggle as much with just written words on a page,” concludes Shepherd.
To listen to Andrea Shepherd talk about the AR title, and try out the technology yourself, sign up for our upcoming webinar with Sage on November 2nd at 4 pm (UK time). Sign up here