Building Skills Outside the Classroom With New Ways of Learning

  • 2018-04-16
  • The New York Times

“We believe all students — beginning at a young age — need access to real-world, applied learning experiences that empower them to gain the skills they need to thrive in college, career and beyond.”

Eighty-seven students in grades 9 through 12 were assigned cases that required learning about the anatomy of the heart, as well as advanced medical technologies addressing heart disease. Working in teams of five or six, the students used materials like balsa wood and foam board to create three-dimensional models showing specific problems in the heart, and they became immersed in sophisticated virtual reality simulations that allowed them to see a stent being inserted into an occluded artery.

During the process they were mentored not only by their own teachers, but also by staff members from the hospital. Maria Held, a clinical nurse specialist, was dazzled by the Innovation Center, a $3 million facility that opened in 2015 and was largely paid for by a bond issue.

“It’s almost futuristic,” Ms. Held said. “Especially compared to when I was in school.”