Advancing Digital Learning for Dentists May 2019

When Sound & Communications saw our newly completed Dental Simulation Lab integration at Western University, they gave it front-page treatment. Discover the expert engineering and advanced thinking that went into this innovative project.

The cover story does a great job of documenting all the technical details of the integration, but what makes the article even more compelling is how well it captures the challenges, opportunities – and insights – that drove this exciting project.

A rapidly transforming digital landscape

Western University competes for the best and brightest students, and to attract them it needs outstanding facilities equipped with the latest technology. But new and shiny isn’t enough on that front. The tech has to enable and enrich the educational experience; and to do that it needs to be tailored to today’s digital learners.

Recognizing the changing educational landscape, Western University has adopted a new “hybrid curriculum” that incorporates hands-on instruction with online resources. Our mission: to help them update the Sim Lab’s AV technology to match the new teaching methodology.

The hybrid curriculum “takes the entire curriculum, which consisted of about two-and-a-half years of lectures and simulation sessions, and converts all lectures into an online format,” says assistant professor Sandra Farah-Franco, DDS, MS. Not only that, it allows for the recording and streaming of lectures and demonstrations to internal and external audiences.

Student-tailored teaching

One of the principal benefits of this approach is its efficacy in meeting the specific learning needs of each student, while providing instructors the tools to impart critical information efficiently. For example, the integration’s Mediasite lecture-capture system records lectures and sessions so that students can access them later, for deeper learning.

To apply our technology specifically to the course curriculum, we worked closely with the client on every aspect of the integration. “It’s a very unique situation,” says ClearTech founder Christina De Bono, “because you’re applying next-generation AV technology to that teaching process. And that’s even down to how we program the touchscreens that reflect the way they teach….For example, the dental college needed a very special type of microscope and camera to show details of dental work to the students. We integrated the microscope and camera into the system and the touchscreens.”

Technology with a purpose

Given that technology is always evolving, ClearTech paid particularly close attention to giving Western University an AV integration that maximized flexibility and scalability – essential to “future proofing” the system for the next five-to-10 years. Succeeding on this count meant prevailing over a series of challenges associated with the complexity of the Sim Lab’s needs, as well as the technical demands imposed by upgrades in video resolution.

The article has all the details about this remarkable integration, as well as an in-depth account of how we partnered with Western University to ensure the system supported the school’s fundamental mission. After all, in a rapidly-evolving, digitally-dominated world, it’s critically important to remember why you’re making the investment in the first place: to leverage technology to enhance teaching and learning.