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Saint Joseph Academy students studying anatomy in virtual reality

Jun 13, 2023Jun 13, 2023

by: Maia Belay

Posted: Jan 26, 2023 / 07:18 PM EST

Updated: Jan 27, 2023 / 11:27 AM EST

CLEVELAND (WJW) — Saint Joseph Academy in Cleveland reports it’s the first high school in the world to incorporate cutting-edge virtual reality anatomy software in the classroom.

“Case Western Reserve developed the HoloAnatomy Software Suite for their medical school,” said Saint Joseph Academy President Kathryn Purcell. “We are actually the first high school in the world to use the HoloAnatomy Software Suite with the HoloLens technology.”

Purcell said the learning tool is often used at elite medical universities, making the school’s honors anatomy and physiology class state-of-the-art. The technology allows students to see 3D holograms of bones and organs at various scales and in realistic detail.

“You can put your head into the image and see firsthand how all of the organs sit next to each other,” said Saint Joseph Academy science instructor Fred Kieser. “We can look at the spinal cord and see how it fits within the vertebrae.”

Instead of taking notes from a textbook or using traditional anatomy models for learning, the software gets students out of their seats to collaborate.

“Today we did the skeletal system and when I’m taking notes, I can retain the information and think back to what we actually did when we were doing the HoloAnatomy,” said senior Deirdre Fanning.

Kieser said he’s noticed an improvement in the ability of students to better understand and retain information since using the software. He said students arrive excited and eager to learn.

“Maybe the excitement level is even more important because when they’re engaged, they’re going to be better learners,” said Kieser. “Looking at a textbook and seeing something in two dimensions is nice, but to be able to walk around the images and see it in 3D with great perspective and color is irreplaceable.”



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