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This last Saturday, Michelle Howard, our Allied Health Simulations Lab Director, spent the day on the battlefield in Afghanistan with our Army National Guard.  These medics saved a soldier whose leg was blown off when his Humvee was hit with an IED (improvised explosive device).  They saved a soldier whose eye was avulsed (torn out) due to a mortar explosion while under fire from the enemy.   They also treated a soldier who was exposed to mustard gas.  This was all done while gunfire and explosions were heard in the background.  Fortunately, Michelle was unscathed because this all occurred in Lincoln Hall.  This emergency medical simulation day with the Army National Guard is a first for OTC and also for the National Guard.  Until now, Army medics needed to travel to Fort Sam Houston for this level of sophisticated simulation training and recertification of their skills.

Bringing realistic simulations into our classroom can invigorate our students by allowing them to practice what they are learning in a real world scenario. The key to a successful simulation is letting the student perform a task that is as close to real-life as we can get it.  For example, in an ethics class, a simulation might involve transforming the classroom into a courtroom and let students argue a real life dispute in front of “Judge Judy” from the point of view of various philosophers.  In a mathematics class, a simulation might be figuring out the square footage of the living areas of a house and then calculating the relative costs of carpet compared to hardwood flooring taking into account various types of underlayment or discounts.

In her Art History course, Cathy Clemens engages the students with an Office Decorator simulation. Her directions for this project start with, “You work in a very nice, high profile office with many people coming in and out.  Your boss decided it’s time to spruce up the office.  She finds out that you had art history in college…guess what?  You are the one selected to choose the works.”  The students are to select five to seven high quality paintings from the styles and artists they have studied.  The paintings must convey a theme that matches the image of the office. For example, a lawyer’s offices might want to express the theme of power through images of David or Napoleon on a horse.  What creative talents would you bring to bear in designing the office of a dating service, a tanning studio, or an architect?  No matter what course we teach we can make it more interesting and applicable to our students’ lives by creating a realistic simulation to engage them in active participation.

This website from the University of Minnesota could help you take your course from “What do I need to cover?” to “What should my students learn to do?”

Bad joke to start the week

By the time Bobby arrived, the football game had already started. “Why are you so late?” asked his friend.

“I couldn’t decide between going to church and going to the football game. So I tossed a coin.”

“But that shouldn’t have taken too long.” said the friend.

“Well, I had to toss it 35 times.”

Last thought

“There is, it seems, more concern about whether children learn the mechanics of reading and writing than grow to love reading and writing; learn about democracy than have practice in democracy; hear about knowledge, rather than gain experience in personally constructing knowledge; see the world narrowly, simple and ordered, rather than broad complex and uncertain.” (Vitto Perrone)

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