The Anatomage table: Differences in student ratings between initial implementation and established use
Keywords:anatomy, students, medical, student engagement, health sciences
Introduction: Increased student numbers and limited cadaver/prosected materials in health courses at Curtin University have required reviewing the way in which we teach our students in laboratory classes. The Anatomage table, an interactive tablet for viewing life-size anatomical images, was introduced into first-year human biology classes in 2013 to replace cadaver materials.
Methods: Two student cohorts were surveyed in 2013 and 2014 on their perception of the usefulness of the Anatomage table and other anatomy resources to their learning. On a scale of 0–100, students were asked to rate a range of anatomy learning tools, including the Anatomage table.
Results: Respondents (2013, n = 333; 2014, n = 329) rated video/animations most useful for learning (77.8/100), followed by models (63.9/100), plastinates (58.4/100) and the Anatomage table (42.4/100), a pattern consistent across gender, use of digital devices and cohort year. In 2014, respondents rated the Anatomage table more favourably (42.4/100) than in 2013 (36.9/100) (p = 0.022). The Anatomage table was rated most helpful for understanding relative sizes of organs but least helpful for using correct anatomical terminology. Qualitative data showed that in 2013, students were frustrated by screen-freezing problems and low-quality graphics, issues that were mostly addressed by 2014. Across both years, student comments were positive regarding the 3D aspect, seeing organ sizes and relationships, the slice tool for cross-sections and avoiding the need for cadaver specimens. Students also liked the Anatomage structured activities and pre-set images but wanted more time to explore and less than eight students around the table at any one time. Students felt unprepared for using the Anatomage table, and the single touch capacity was limiting when working in groups.
Conclusions: These findings indicate that touch-screen technology needs careful curriculum design and training for both students and staff to optimise its usefulness for learning.
Azer, S. A., & Azer, S. (2016). 3D anatomy models and impact on learning: A review of the quality of the literature. Health Professions Education, 2(2), 80–98.
Brown, J., Stonelake, S., Anderson, W., Abdulla, M., Toms, C., Farfus, A., & Wilton, J. (2015). Medical students perception of Anatomage—3D interactive dissection table. International Journal of Surgery, 23, S17–S18.
Choudhury, B., & Goldsborough, I. (2012). The use of electronic media to develop transferable skills in science students studying anatomy. Anatomical Sciences Education, 5, 125–131.
Colorado, B., Wertsch, J., Hoagland, T., & Braza, D. (2013). Teaching fluoroscopically- guided injection procedures utilizing Anatomage. Paper presented at the 30th annual meeting of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists, Denver, Colorado. Retrieved from http://clinical-anatomy.org/images/downloads/Past_Meeting_ PDFs/denver.pdf
Custer, T., & Michael, K. (2015). The utilization of the anatomage virtual dissection table in the education of imaging science students. Journal of Tomography and Simulation, 1, 1–4.
Dahlstrom, E., & Bichsel, J. (2014). ECAR study of undergraduate students and information technology. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ecar
Eickmeyer, S., Wertsch, J., Lewandowski, L., Hoagland, T., & Braza, D. (2013). Teaching pelvic floor musculoskeletal anatomy using Anatomage. Paper presented at the 30th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists, Denver, Colorado. Retrieved from http://clinical-anatomy.org/images/downloads/ Past_Meeting_PDFs/denver.pdf
Ellaway, R. H., Fink, P., Graves, L., & Campbell, A. (2014). Left to their own devices: Medical learners' use of mobile technologies. Medical Teacher, 36, 130–138.
Estai, M., & Bunt, S. (2016). Best teaching practices in anatomy education: A critical review. Annals of Anatomy, 208, 151–157. doi:10.1016/j.aanat.2016.02.010
Fyfe, G., Fyfe, S., Dye, D., & Radley-Crabb, H. (2013). Use of Anatomage tables in a large first year core unit. Paper presented at the Electric Dreams 30th Ascilite Conference, Sydney, NSW.
Garg, A., Norman, G. R., Spero, L., & Maheshwari, P. (1999). Do virtual computer models hinder anatomy learning? Academic Medicine, 74, S87–S89.
Hutchins, S. M. (2017). Are all organ systems created equal? Conference Proceedings: New Perspectives in Science Education (6th ed.), 276–279.
Johnson, I. P., Palmer, E., Burton, J., & Brockhouse, M. (2013). Online learning resources in anatomy: What do students think? Clinical Anatomy, 26, 556–563.
Kazoka, D., & Pilmane, M. (2017). Teaching and learning innovation in present and future of human anatomy course at RSU. Papers in Anthropology, 26(2), 44–52. doi:10.12697/poa.2017.26.2.05
Marker, D. R., Juluru, K., Long, C., & Magid, D. (2012). Strategic improvements for gross anatomy web-based teaching. Anatomy Research International, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/146262
Meyer, A. J., Stomski, N. J., Innes, S. I., & Armson, A. J. (2016). VARK learning preferences and mobile anatomy software application use in pre-clinical chiropractic students. Anatomical Sciences Education, 9, 247–254.
Moro, C., Štromberga, Z., Raikos, A., & Stirling, A. (2017). The effectiveness of virtual and augmented reality in health science and medical anatomy. Anatomical Sciences Education, 10(6), 549–559. doi:10.1002/ase.1696
Pandey, P., & Zimitat, C. (2007). Medical students’ learning of anatomy: Memorisation, understanding and visualisation. Medical Education, 41, 7–14.
Tworek, J. K., Jamniczky, H. A., Jacob, C., Hallgrimsson, B., & Wright, B. (2013). The LINDSAY Virtual Human Project: An immersive approach to anatomy and physiology. Anatomical Sciences Education, 6, 19–28.
Vertemati, M., Rizzetto, F., Vezzulli, F., Sampogna, G., Cassin, S., Canzato, F., & Elli, M. (2018). Teaching anatomy in a modern medical course: An integrated approach at Vialba Medical School in Milan. MedEdPublish. doi:10.15694/ mep.2018.0000019.1
How to Cite
On acceptance for publication in FoHPE the copyright of the manuscript is signed over to ANZAHPE, the publisher of FoHPE.
Any reproduction of material published in FoHPE must have the express permission of the publisher.
Articles published in Focus on Health Professional Education (FoHPE) are available under Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives Licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).