August 1, 2009, by Teaching at Nottingham

Demonstrating practical skills to large groups using an overhead visualiser

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Sarah Freeman: “We start almost all of our practical classes off with some sort of demonstration showing the students where they’re supposed to be looking at things, what they’re supposed to be doing, and then allow them to go and spend the time working, working it out for themselves.”

Sarah demonstrating with the visualiser: “So what I’m going to do is talk you through the different joint block sites, so you’ve got some model limbs on your tables in various different formats. So you can have a look at these as we’re going through them.”

Sarah: “The visualiser works very well in terms of 3D showing structures. So the fact that we can turn it round, you can see different depth in it. A lot of things that we couldn’t do with a video camera before, the video camera tends to be very flat and you can’t get different things in perspective. So I would show something from one side, turn it over and the whole thing will go out of focus and nobody would know what I was talking about.

“The visualiser and the screens work so that we can actually work with a hundred students and they all get the same experience.

Student 1: “You don’t have to crowd round the table, everyone can sit in their seats and see what’s going on, because people that are short, like me and Abby, never get to see anything. So if we can sit down and watch the screen…
That looks good.”

Sarah demonstrating with visualiser: “So your landmarks for your distal interphalangeal joint is you come a centimetre above the coronary band, so you should be able to see this on most of these models, and then you angle your needle at 45 degrees. So there’s some task sheets on all of this, and they’re on WebCT as well. So there’s task sheets next door. So a centimeter above the coronary band and then you need to have an angle of about 45 degrees.”

Sarah: “We find that the practicals, if we can direct them well using the visualiser and with the demonstration at the beginning, they almost sort of run themselves, so obviously, you need staff there but our role is more checking than actually teaching continuously, and it works much better because it allows them to work at their own pace.”

Students in the lab: “So what’s that?”
(inaudible conversation)
“Superficial, then deep.
“Then we’ve got, these are the proximal sesamoid bones here.
“Oh, so is that the suspensory?”

Sarah: “No, your suspensory’s gone here, that’s too deep, like you said.”

Sarah in the lab: “Chris Riggs taught you dorsal, I tend to use the lateral one, and then Janet tends to use the palmar one. So it doesn’t matter. So the idea of telling you about all three of them is not that you have to learn all three of them, it’s just that you have a play around and see which one you like to do.”

Sarah: “We use it, not only at the beginning of the class but also if there’s queries, if we get two or three people, lots of people coming up with queries, rather than answer them individually, it’s nice to be able to go back to the front of the class and say ‘Several people are getting stuck on this, let’s just go through it’, or ‘Let’s show you the next stage of what you’re going to do’, and also, some of the students will do a nice dissection for example, and find something really nice, if we can bring that to the front of the class and say ‘Hey look what table six has done’, or whatever, and that, again, helps involve them a lot more.

“We can capture both still images and also video images so we can use those for building up practical guides and also pictures, so the pictures that they’ll see in the lectures will hopefully be pictures that they’ll also be seeing in the practicals.”

Sarah Freeman
School of Veterinary Medicine & Science

Fay Pooley
School of Veterinary Medicine & Science

Sarah is teaching second year students in an anatomy practical. The visualiser and screens were funded by the Visual Learning Lab. Produced August 2009.

This video was originally published as part of PESL’s Teaching at Nottingham collection.

Posted in Practicals and labsTeachingVideo and audio