On June 24th, the NCKU College of Medicine unveiled southern Taiwan’s very first virtual reality (VR) classroom. The purpose of the classroom is to use high technology to actively create an immersive teaching experience as well as improve on teaching and learning effectiveness. Human anatomy is a course that students of all departments of the medical school need to take, so this course will be given priority for VR classroom installation. Teachers and students will also be encouraged to make VR lesson plans. The College of Medicine also plans to collaborate with science and engineering departments at NCKU in the future to develop more realistic interactive VR teaching materials by leveraging artificial intelligence, developing precision medicine, and cultivating a new generation of medical talent.
NCKU College of Medicine unveiled southern Taiwan’s very first virtual reality (VR) classroom
The "Artificial Intelligence Virtual Reality Classroom" includes a 3D software for teaching organ anatomy, a 75-inch large screen monitor that can be used for teaching in real time, a 360-degree camera, computers, VR helmets and the like. More sophisticated instruments and equipment will be purchased in the future, as needed.
Many are under the assumption that only medical students need learn about the human anatomy. The head of the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy at the NCKU College of Medicine Prof. Chia-Ching (Josh) Wu asserted that students in all medical departments must learn about the human anatomy, including those in nursing, occupational therapy, and pharmaceutical studies. Cadavers are generally hard to come by and cannot be reused for teaching purposes, but this situation can improve with the introduction of VR teaching technology. Through high-tech assistance, students can view the complex anatomy of the human body from all angles, directly grasp the relative position of each organ, as well as dissect organs, blood vessels, nerves, and rotate multiple body structures as needed to show features of the human body such as its dynamic stretching and contraction of the muscles.
In addition to using 3D organ anatomy teaching software in AI VR classrooms, teachers can also teach while in other classrooms by wearing VR helmets and computers. Students can also go to their AI VR classroom, don the VR helmets and practice dissecting the human body. Physicians can also customize clinical VR environments for patients and their family members. In this environment, by wearing VR helmets, physicians can explain to their patients or their family members their medical status, condition, and treatment.
The NCKU College of Medicine will also further expand the skills of teachers using VR teaching technology. It is sometimes difficult to understand the mechanics of the software when taught by students or trainers in the College of Medicine. However, the VR classroom technology is suited for executing virtual tutorials designed with regularly available software and video camera technology.
The Dean of the College of Medicine Prof. Yan-Shen Shan pointed out that with the progress of science and technology, teaching should also keep up with the trend of the times. At present, there are still much room for strengthening the VR lesson planning and teaching. Engineering, electrical machinery, and information technology have always been among NCKU’s strengths. The College of Medicine looks forward to working together with these three fields to develop interactive virtual lesson plans that best meet the needs of students. Moreover, these efforts aim to provide students with a better medical foundation while at the same time encouraging further research and development, and create more interdisciplinary collaborative opportunities.