Camosun Innovates creates a virtual education tool to aid with accessibility and distanced learning for nursing students.
Virtual sonography simulation
Camosun Innovates has been deeply involved in developing immersive training environments for other faculties across Camosun to offer students an alternative approach to applied learning. Previously, they have developed tools for the Plumbing and Pipe Trades Foundation program to offer interactive learning to their Gas Labs department. This time around, they created a simulation for the School of Health and Human Services to offer an applied learning solution for their nursing students.
Solutions for distanced learning
After hearing about the success of the Virtual Gas labs distanced learning tool, The School of Health and Human Services at Camosun reached out to Innovates to create a similar virtual tool for use in their Sonography program. Mathew Barbas, instructor for the School of Health and Human services, worked closely with the team from Innovates to create a virtual recreation of their sonography machine so that students could familiarize themselves with the machine's layout and design prior to attending their in-person labs. When conducting labs in a distanced learning environment, it is best for students to have quick lab sessions with as little time in close contact as possible. By allowing the students to familiarize themselves with the machine in a digital environment they can come into the lab better prepared to use the machine with greater efficiency, while also learning its knobology in the process.
The Sonography simulation features a close replica of one of the School of Health and Human Services' clinics, alongside a virtual recreation of the sonography machine using 3D scan data. Upon entering the space, the user may interact with the sonography machine offering both a description of each button and icon, and a focus view of the different sonography probes used to perform ultrasounds. The main purpose of the tool is to help students study their knobology, or in other words, to study the function and purpose of each button and control on the machine.
This project was created by two student grant workers, Connor Shiego Yutani-Patterson and Lucius Hall, that specialize in simulation development and 3D modelling. Along with assistance from Matthew Zeleny, Lab Technologist at Innovates, they were successful in 3D scanning the Sonography machine, converting and exporting that scan data into a 3D asset, and preparing the interactive elements into the game engine Unity.
A word From Matthew Barbas on working with Camosun Innovates
"I was very impressed with the virtual sonography ultrasound system that was created by Connor and Lucius. With their amazing 3D camera and intuitive programming skills, they were able to simulate a virtual sonography lab with an interactive ultrasound console. I was in awe when the user hovers over a specific control on the console, they can find out what the control does by displaying a description and simultaneously display what would occur on the virtual ultrasound system screen. In class, we had an interactive session with students where I guided one student on how to navigate through the virtual sonography lab and how to interact with the console. The students enjoyed the level of detail incorporated into the virtual sonography console. The sonography students mentioned that this helped them review where each specific control was located and what function was performed when navigating through the virtual console. This proved to be an effective learning tool to supplement content that was delivered during lectures and in-person labs."
Camosun Innovates is proud to have worked with the Sonography department and the School of Health and Human Services in order to enhance the program's accessibility in a time of distanced learning. As the desire for immersive virtual training environments sees greater adoption across disciplines, the team at Innovates will be equipped to connect with individuals seeking solutions for distanced learning tools and digital training materials.