Thursday, July 30, 2015

Week Starting 7/18/15 Compilation: What Are the Essentials of A&P?

For week two (starting July 18, 2015) of our #slowAandPchat, we discussed the essentials of our class content and ideas.

I picked this topic because we would need to spend months and months (actually years) studying A&P in enough depth and breadth to do it justice, yet only have one (maybe two) semesters at hand.  The discussions that ensued were very good and are compiled below:

Pete VanKempen (@MrVK) brought-up how how the respiratory and circulatory systems work jointly to bring in oxygen, deliver it to end-tissues, pick-up carbon dioxide from those tissues and release it into the atmosphere.

Pete also stressed the importance of the respiratory system and digestive systems in oxygen and nutrient acquisition, conversion to usable energy (ATP) and the excretion of waste products.

Gerry Marchand (@gm8585) wants his students to learn collaboratively, efficiently and without fear of being wrong/failing.

Gerry also echoed the sentiment that the interconnectedness and interdependence of body systems is key.

As part of his final exam, Chris Baker (@bakerhhhs) asks several questions (here) that cause students to examine in interconnectedness of systems.

Chris and Gardner (@VirtualGardner) feel that a deep understanding of homeostatic mechanisms is essential for understanding the correlation between stimuli, receptors, integration centers, set points and effectors.  It is this understanding that enables clinicians to correlate physical findings with underlying physiological processes.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Head is Swimming with Ideas

Well I guess I got what I asked for; with a hugely expanded Twitter PLN came a flood of ideas I would like to create and/or implement:

  1. Determine if all my students:
    • have access to a smartphone during school hours
    • have reliable internet access outside of school
    • have access to a smart device outside of school
  2. Ask all students to:
    • have a Google account (to make group collaboration seamless)
    • sign-up for my Remind SMS texts
    • download a QR code scanner/reader
  3. Use smartphones more in the classroom for:
    • taking picts and videos of dissections
    • tagging dissection picts and vids with common Twitter hashtag (#cbkinese?)
  4. Use QR codes for commonly accessed URLs:
    • our classroom website
    • our dissection Google Site
    • this blog
    • my Twitter page
  5. Start to flip "lectures" to free-up class time for case studies
  6. incorporate mini "case studies" as class openers (higher level thinking):
    • students walk in, get into groups right away
    • case study situation is posted on wall (chest pain or respiratory distress or pallor, etc...)
    • groups use preexisting knowledge to brainstorm potential causes
    • next day, groups investigate each of causes of the case and determines root cause, signs and symptoms, diagnostic tests and treatment

Now I just need summer to be extended by a month or two to get this done.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Building my PLN

For the past few weeks I have been following folks that I met at ISTE15 on Twitter, joining-in on conversations and adding more and more interesting people to my Personal Learning Network (PLN).

Although the speed of traditional twitter chats is much to fast for me to process (reaching ~2000 tweets/hr), I have been using Tweetdeck to sift through chats after the fact.  Some of my favorite chats so far are #edtechchat, #flipclass, #pblchat, #nt2t, #edchat, #GAFEchat, #biochat and (shameless plug) #slowAandPchat:

In trolling through these chats, I have read a lot of thoughtful, provocative and informative tweets.  Subsequently I have followed those authors and am building-up my new PLN.  I am finding that teachers (or educators, facilitators, blah blah blah - I don't spend time squabbling over semantics) are having similar issues across the US (and probably throughout the globe).  EduTweeters are quick to provide alternatives, solutions and support, even at 1 am.  While I enjoy, respect and turn to my face-to-face colleagues in school, it is pretty freaking cool to be able to reach-out for help 24/7 and get help from a virtually unlimited pool of helpful folk.

It's better than cool, it's my new PLN and source for professional development.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Week Starting 7/11/15 Compilation: What Sets Your Class Apart

Well, we have one week of #slowAandPchat under our belts!  Our discussion centered around the unique qualities of our classrooms:


Personally, I enjoyed the conversations and questions that stemmed from tweeted responses.  Here is a summary of the main ideas that were shared as well as applicable links:

  • Gerry Marchand (@gm8585) from Huntley, Illinois makes videos with trailers (example) to draw in and peak his students interest.  This clip was very Blair Witchy:

  • Chris Ludwig (@chrisludwig) from La Junta, Colorado and his students visit a local professors' human cadaver lab. The dissection they see is the culmination of one years' worth of work.  Highlights includes smokers' lungs and implanted pacemakers.
  • Chris's students create digital portfolios using Google Sites.
  • Erika Factor (@erikafactor) pushes her students to prepare for the material and time management skills required in college A&P.  She finds that focusing on study skills helps students adjust to the sheer volume of material, as well as planning-out the semester to the day.
  • Pete VanKempen (@MrVK) from Coopersville, Michigan uses cow and sheep eyes and hearts procured from local butchers for dissection. In addition, he uses cats for muscle and internal anatomy.
  • Cara Johnson (@AHSAnatomy) from Allen, Texas vacuum seals her cats and uses them for the following five dissections: integumentary, muscular, skeletal, digestive and CV
  • Cara also borrows the local CC's @syndaver synthetic cadaver.  Her students take selfies with different portions of the model, which an explanatory blurb and tweet them out using the #syndaverselfie15 hashtag:

  • Dr. Ellen Weber (@ellenfweber) from Rochester, New York looks at the relationship between the amygdala, student emotional well being and student learning:

  • Chris Baker (@bakerhhhs) from Horsham, PA teaches his students the basics of assessing emergency scenes, obtaining vital signs and H&P's, developing different diagnoses, clinical impressions and treatment plans.
  • Chris's students also perform post-thoracotomy endotracheal intubation on dissected rats and pigs:

Participants: if any of the above is inaccurate, misinterpreted, incorrect or just plain missing, PLEASE let me know and I will fix!

Thanks again for a great first week and for your enthusiasm and time.  I can foresee these chats and summaries becoming a very useful and well-used and shared resource. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Launch of #slowAandPchat!

Thank you for joining the first #slowAandPchat!

All of us are busy with school, teaching, grad classes, family, part-time jobs and the daily craziness of life.  While there are many traditional education-based Twitter chats out there, I believe that the "slow" format allows more time to read posts, process information, respond to the weekly topic, ask more follow up or clarifying questions and exchange ideas.

I have several goals for this chat.  I hope to add more or modify these with your input as we progress and develop as a group:
  • further develop PLNs of peers and experts who teach/instruct anatomy and physiology at the secondary or higher education levels
  • share classroom successes with each other
  • share failures and gain insight and assistance from this group
  • exchange information, ideas and best practices
I will post one question or topic per week (shooting for every Saturday) and we will have the entire week to mull over, discuss, ask questions and exchange ideas.  The initial post will be using the #slowAandPchat hashtag in the traditional Q1 format (in the event we have a need for a possible Q2 or Q3).  Please tweet responses/replies/questions in the A1 (or A2 A3) format along with the #slowAandPchat hashtag (for easy searching).

At the end of the week I will summarize/compile all tweets into this blog for ease of reading and future reference.

I have made a list of possible topics for upcoming chats (in no particular order).  I hemmed and hawed as to whether or not publish this list or surprise you every week.  I chose the former:
  1. what would make Ss sign-up for your class? what sets your class apart from other A&P classes?
  2. class format: dissections done start to finish and didactic separately? integrated? how to synchronize lecture with dissections? is it possible?
  3. what are your end goals for your students?
  4. how do measure student success?
  5. stand-out labs or activities
  6. higher ed/medical schools: what do you need from us secondary folks?
  7. how do you address inadequate pre-existing knowledge?
  8. flippers: does it work? how does it work? any problems?
  9. what kinds of technology have you integrated into your teaching?
  10. how do you evaluate students (formative and summative)
  11. what does your course boil-down to? what are the essentials?
  12. what dissections (types of specimens) do you do and why?
  13. should we shorten the hashtag from #slowAandPchat to something else?
I have created a Google Form to collect your basic contact information.  I would like to share the resulting Google Sheet with participants in this group to use as a resource for out-of-Twitter contact (email, website URL, etc).  The form is quick to fill-out, optional and can be found here.

My own interests/profile can here found here, our classroom website here, and our dissection lab notebook/blog/work in progress may be found here.

Lastly, I want to emphasize that this is OUR chat, not mine.  We all have good ideas, practices and activities to offer.  Although I think I am a pretty good instructor, I could be a lot better with your help and suggestions. 

I hope you enjoy this chat and get a lot out of it!


Monday, July 6, 2015

#slowAandPchat starting this Saturday

Well, somebody's gotta do it.  I decided to jump in and start #slowAandPchat.  First topic/question will be posted this Saturday 7/11/15.  To start with, format will be one topic/question per week using the #slowAandPchat hashtag (may be shortened, will have to discuss). At the end of the week I will comb through all responses and compile them into a blog post (here). I think the slowchat format used by David Theriault (#slowchatED) and Michael Fenton (#slowmathchat) will be most suitable, especially given the time and schedule limitations we all face. I find traditional Twitter chats, although rich with information, too fast-paced and I do not like the inherent time constraints.

 I am excited to hear others thoughts, concerns, problems, questions and solutions regarding teaching A&P. Hopefully we will drum-up enough interest, learn from each other and take turns moderating and curating.  Or this could fall flat on its face due to lack of interest or lack of awareness about the chat. No risk, no reward, right?

Sunday, July 5, 2015


Possibly coming soon.  Hopefully there will be enough interest!  Pass the word along.

#slowAandPchat anyone?

I've got a few tech ideas I would like to try-out this year that hopefully will boost (my) efficiency, increase collaboration (between students, between students and myself and between teachers) and raise the bar for student published work:

  1. converting all my Windows files and storing them on GDrive (started this summer)
  2. adopt Google Sheets automatic rubrics for class projects (thank you Alice Keeler!)
  3. adopt Google Drive as our standard for collaboratively produced documents
  4. publish student work for public display using a combination of Sites, Slides and Blogger
In addition, I have started blogging, both for outside critique and personal introspection.  I would also like to start a #slowAandPchat, much like the #slowchatED that David Theriault started in response to fast-paced and oft-missed tweets of traditional Twitter chats.  I would like to see how much demand there is from the Anatomy and Physiology community...

Foray into blogging

Well, it has taken me several hours to set-up this blog: layout, separate tabs/links filtering posts to one of four blog pages (Home, Anatomy and Physiology, Teaching with Technology and Room for Improvement).  It feels good to put it all out there for critique. I have a bunch of ideas to share and and get input from folk but, frankly, I am beat.  It's almost 4am EST and want to be somewhat functional tomorrow.  Good night.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Why tech, why now?

I took a Chromebook101 class this past Spring through pdcampus with instructor Tom McGee.  The class sounded interesting, it awarded 3 graduate credits and threw in a Chromebook as part of the tuition.  What is there not to like?  The result: I am totally sold on Chrome, Google Drive and Google apps, extensions and add-ons.  The ability to operate across platforms and ability to collaborate makes Google a no-brainer.  While doing work for my class, I came across a blog by Google Drive and Google Classroom Guru Alice Keeler.  I found her blog and her Twitter posts to rich in content, concise and (most importantly) useful.

Although I could not attend ISTE 2015, I participated in the last #coffeeEDU meet-up of the week hosted by Alice (we were fed by Versal and Remind) at the 1500 Market Starbucks at 6am:

I met so many interesting people that were highly knowledgeable and helpful, that my Twitter PLN grew exponentially:
The early risers

360 camera

Well, I've spent the last few days sifting through #ISTE15 and #ISTE2015 tweets, mining information and ideas to improve my teaching.  A common thread was teacher blogging and student blogging, both for reflective writing and publishing content.  So here we go.  Welcome to my blog.

Introduction to my course(s)

Originally created as a high school kinesiology course by retired teacher, track coach and good friend Craig Nishiyama, our two courses here at Hatboro-Horsham High School have morphed into medical anatomy and physiology courses.  The overarching goals of these courses are to:
  1. give students a taste of the A&P necessary for the following fields:
    1. nursing school
    2. medical school
    3. physician assistant
    4. athletic training
    5. physical therapy
    6. occupational therapy
    7. medical illustration
  2. prepare students for college-level A&P
Both courses are electives (not required for graduation) and have been traditionally quite popular.  Our basic (College Prep, or CP) course starts with an introduction to human anatomy and physiology, then skeletal A&P, joint A&P then muscle A&P.  The advanced course (Honors, or H) additionally examines various tissues and the integumentary system in particular.

In addition, the Honors course also examines a "case study", a fictional multi-systems trauma patient that permeates throughout the semester.  Through discussions and small group work, students learn how to:
  1. evaluate mechanism of injury
  2. develop index of suspicion
  3. assess level of consciousness
  4. evaluate and treat CAB's (basic and advanced)
  5. determine chief complaint
  6. obtain vital signs
  7. obtain history and physical
  8. correlate VS with anatomical and physiological findings
  9. use MOI, IOS, CC, VS & H&Ps to develop differential diagnoses
  10. develop clinical impression
  11. develop treatment plan
  12. treat various traumatic injuries
Both courses also dissect the white rat and fetal pig.  Rats are for practice (to hone their dissection skills) and serve as an introduction to anatomical spacial relationships.  The pigs are for more independent dissections with less assistance from me; students rely on each others experience.  For both dissections, students are placed into heterogeneous lab groups according to their interests, experiences and results of a personality/leadership propensity survey.  Students learn about the roles, responsibilities and expectations of Attending, Chief Resident, Intern and Medical Student.  On the first day of dissection in the semester, one student is picked as Attending and in then task with assigning staff roles.  Those roles are:
  1. Attending - oversees dissection group and helps prn
  2. Chief resident - sets-up, functions as lead dissector, cleans-up
  3. Intern - responsible for recording dissection through pictures and videos and posting on our classroom Google Site (under reconstruction as of 6/5/15)
  4. Medical Student - researches assigned related topic using either textbook or Visible Body anatomical software (at lab bench on desktop)
Students rotate roles every day.