Starting next school year, Shawnee Mission School District students will have access to the same advanced piece of technology many medical students use to learn how the human body works.
The Shawnee Mission Education Foundation announced this month that it would spend more than $70,000 to bring an Anatomage virtual dissection table to the district. The table will be delivered this spring for use in the Biotechnology and Medical Health Science signature programs that will be housed in the new Center for Academic Achievement. While the technology is increasingly standard at medical schools across the country, just three other public K-12 districts in the country have one.
“We believe giving our students access to world-class technology and learning experiences is crucial for the future of our kids and of our communities,” said foundation Executive Director Kimberly Hinkle. “But as we all know, we cannot rely on state funding to provide innovative equipment and experiences for our students.”
The table allows students to explore all of the body’s systems through a virtual cadaver that can be rotated, zoomed-in on, and isolated for detailed review of all areas of the body. The system also provides the ability to explore the bodies of a number of animals. The district had been exploring the possibility to getting one of the tables since early this spring. Superintendent Jim Hinson made a demonstration of an Anatomage table part of a Super Chat gathering he held at Indian Hills Middle School in April.
“Anatomage is cutting-edge technology that allows students full-access to virtual dissection of human and animal cadavers without the chemicals, cost or ethical concerns of traditional dissection,” Hinkle said.
Though the table will remain at the Center for Academic Achievement, leaders hope to make the technology available for science classes throughout the district to come and use. Hinkle said the ultimate goal would be to procure a table for each of the district’s high schools some day.
“While this Anatomage table is a fine start, we know that it is just the beginning. If we want our students prepared for our community’s workforce and ready and able to change the world, we have to give them the tools, technology and experiences to do so,” she said.