Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants. ~ John W. Gardner.
Computers have been implemented in a variety of ways to benefit education and research. For example simulations have been utilized in a variety of fields from medical science, aerospace/plane pilots, and even military combat.
For this blog-post lets focus on the medical side of simulations. Simulation was first put into practical application during the 1930s military scientists and researchers tested the Link Trainer for flight and other military related applications. Unfortunately, at the time medical simulations were not possible due to the technology not being fully developed at the time and that the overall medical knowledge was too hard to implement with the simulation technology. It wasn’t until the early 1990s the American Board of Emergency Medicine starts to implement medical simulation technology as a way to gauge student performance. Technology as far as it has come up to this point still needed refinement in terms of medical simulation. That is why the The Council of Residency Directors or CORD established these principles for simulations as a whole:
“Simulation is a useful tool for training residents and in ascertaining competency. The core competencies most conducive to simulation-based training are patient care, interpersonal skills, and systems based practice.
It is appropriate for performance assessment but there is a scarcity of evidence that supports the validity of simulation in the use for promotion or certification.
There is a need for standardization and definition in using simulation to evaluate performance.
Scenarios and tools should also be formatted and standardized such that EM educators can use the data and count on it for reproducibility, reliability and validity.” (from wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_simulation)
What is so important about medical simulations to begin with? Well first off it gives prospective medical students a chance to apply what they have learned in class with a more interactive approach. Such simulations mean that students will actually get a hands on approach to the various operations and other procedures as if they were actually at the operating table. This ultimately leads to students actually being prepared to actually deal with the real scenario when that time comes and with their experience could be the one thing that will save the patients life.
When it comes down to a computer scientist having to design the software needed for medical simulations they must consider a variety of factors. Obviously they must consider the operation they want to simulate; once they have done that, they must consider how they want to display the users interactions with their patient as they complete a procedure. This can be done through point and clicking, touchscreens, and even for the high-tech simulation actual sensors on the persons hands to get precise gestures. One major thing that must be taken into account is that the software must be presented in a way so that whoever wishes to use it can easily understand and interact with the interface with as few problems as possible.
As our technology continues to develop so will the ability to simulate any medical scenario preventing deaths worldwide.