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Innovation in Education

Haptics, Virtual Reality, and iPad Initiatives

We are committed to creating an innovative teaching and learning environment that supports all aspects of pre-clinical, didactic and clinical dental education. To this end, we have identified specific Innovation Initiatives and strategies that are driving such student outcomes. We believe these efforts will lead to Future-ready graduates who are better prepared for their future in dental medicine, regardless of their career choices and pathways.

Within our Haptics Advanced Technology Suite, we have deployed Dental Trainers, which function as simulators for students to improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination in the pre-clinical years to allow for a smoother transition to the clinical setting. From the very first semester of the Doctor of Dental Surgery program, our students have the opportunity to utilize these simulators to practice caries removal, prep for difficult procedures, and even prepare for Licensing Board exams by incorporating scans of actual patients. 

Virtual Reality

We believe that our students are best served by experiencing content through multiple modalities, including 3d virtual environments. We have built an Immersive Learning Suite for this exact purpose, and we have outfitted it with VR "Backpacks," Mixed Reality headsets, and motion controllers. Within this environment, our students have the opportunity to explore School of Dental Medicine content including advanced Anatomy concepts and 3 dimensional scans of patients. Additionally, we provide a number of Resiliency apps that allow for students to refresh and recharge in truly breathtaking virtual spaces.

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As we look at the future of both education and dental practices, we see a great opportunity to invest in the app and technology ecosystems that will have the greatest impact for our students. This means that we have focused upon providing effective and innovative experiences with iPads and device mirroring in the classroom. Faculty members and students alike have access on their iPads to the latest dental coursework applications as well as interactive student response systems. These experiences are further enhanced when the iPad screens are wirelessly displayed on all of our classrooms and lab-based learning environments. We believe this provides far greater access to deep learning for all students, as our faculty can quickly capture and annotate examples of clinical findings and procedures in the classroom, lab, and clinic environment.

Students and faculty embrace contemporary tablet-assisted interactive learning. The iPad Initiative is enhancing education in the CU School of Dental Medicine classrooms, pre-clinical laboratories and the clinics.

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