Sunday, September 26, 2010

Reading week 4 summary

Main Idea:

The use of 3D software is replacing more traditional methods of teaching Anatomy.  While one of the bests methods of learning remains cadaver dissection, this is not possible in a high school and in many cases is not cost effective in medical school.  Students have shown a preference for the interactivity and immediate feedback from computer assisted learning.  While students feel that it is a valuable addition to the learning process, they do not want to remove traditional methods such as lectures and books.  Current software offers more realistic views and 3D models allow users to experience a more authentic view of the body.


Does software adequately address the different learning styles that students have?

Are today's students really digital natives?  Are they able to navigate software and how much teacher direction is required.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Week 4 Practical Experience Photoshop CS5 Merging Photos 3

After combining the photos, I had to flatten the images to make them grayscale.  While the end result is interesting, it was not exactly what I had in mind.  In the end, the images still look pasted together.  It will require some more time and patients in order to achieve the desired result.  I did learn some valuable tools in the process.  One the most convenient tools is the quick selection tool.  I had attempted the process before but did not fully understand the refine edge window.  With my new knowledge, this procedure is quicker and more accurate.  I will be able to get much better results with the extractions.  The greatest challenge is in the merge mode.  The images are difficult to fully integrate and the end result is a little choppy.  

Photoshop in general is very detailed and the endless options can make it somewhat overwhelming.  The use of tutorials made the process manageable but the shortcut commands were not useful to me.  Overall, I feel much more confident using Photoshop and I have learned to perform the specific functions that I need for production work.  When I have the time, I plan to experiment more with different tools and I hope to spend some more time on Flickr to get innovative ideas. 

Week 4 Practical Experience Photoshop CS5 Merging Photos 2

I have been spending time looking for photos that match up so that I can effectively merge them.  While I want the photos to be somewhat surreal looking, I also want them to look like they could possibly be real.  I want it to seem plausible that the dancer is actually in the construction site.  Once I have found a good match, I go to split screen view and I can drag the extracted shot onto the new background.  Once there, it can be free transformed using "command + T".  This allows you to resize and morph the image to fit the desired landscape.

The trickiest part is working with shadows to make the image look fully integrated.  I had some difficulty getting this to work like the instructional video.  As recommended, I used the drop shadow, added a layer mask and painted in the areas where the image would naturally cast shadows using the black paint brush to reveal the underlying shadows in specific areas.  In the end, I settled on using the original drop shadows without the layer mask.  I will continue to experiment to see if I can come up with results that are more realistic.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Week 4 Practical Experience Photoshop CS5 Merging Photos

In order to create more interesting photographs, I am learning how to extract combine and merge different photos.  I specifically wanted to experiment with my dance photos combined with photos of the ongoing construction on our campus.  I love the idea of producing images of the dancers highlighting grace and elegance juxtaposed with the destruction of the buildings.  Because of cost factors, I will need to convert the photos to black and white which has the added complication of flattening the images.

Photoshop CS5 is very useful but rather complicated.  There are many steps in this process.  Last week, I worked on techniques for extracting images.  I was able to successfully remove the background from the dance pictures and this week I am working on merging photos and making it look somewhat realistic.  The trick is to get the images to blend and look like they belong together and not like one was pasted on top of the other.  I have been following along with the tutorials and it has allowed me to follow the process.  Below some of the original photos which I will be merging.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week 3 Practical Experience Photoshop CS5

This week, I learned some important new skills for Adobe Photoshop CS5.  The tutorials were extremely helpful.  The only difficulty I had was with the instructors use of keyboard shortcuts.  I find shortcuts impossible to remember because they seem like random combinations of "option" and various letters.  I prefer to use the drop down menus and my mouse.  My focus for this tool was on using it to extract images.  Because I do not have a photo studio and supplies, I take dance photos on the stage at school with regular stage lighting.  I do not like the way the pictures look in that background, so I extract the images using photoshop and then put them on a white background and often include gradients.  With the new version of photoshop, my job has gotten much easier.

Previously, I used the eraser tool and painstakingly drew around each image to remove the background.  I had to have an extremely steady hand and spent a lot of time backtracking and refining.  With CS5's new smart selection tool, the process is much easier.  As I show in my Youtube video, the whole process takes me about 10 minutes and the results are much better.

I now want to take it to the next level and merge these extracted images with new backgrounds to create some more interesting shots.  This year our school is going through a rebuild and has a really interesting construction zone.  I want to take the extracted pictures of dancers and place them in the construction zone so that it looks like they are dancing in the rubble.

Here are a couple of examples of photos that were extracted using CS5.

Week 3 Practical Experience Photoshop CS5 Extracting Images

Click here for my Youtube video on using Photoshop CS5.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Reading Post 3

Klein, A. (2008). VIRTUAL SCIENCE. Science World, 64(14), 7. Retrieved from MAS Ultra - School Edition database.

Article talks about the use of V-Frog which allows students to perform a virtual frog dissection.  In this frog, organs still work and students can zoom in and look at multiple views of structures.

Mathai, S., & Ramadas, J. (2009). Visuals and Visualisation of Human Body Systems. International Journal of Science Education, 31(3), 439-458. doi:10.1080/09500690802595821.

Believe that students learn structure best through visual material and function best through verbal material.  Suggest the integration of verbal and visual methods to train students to be able to take spatial information and articulate it verbally.

Foreman, Lloyd J., & Pomerantz, Sherry C. (2006). Computer-assisted instruction: A survey on the attitudes of osteopathic medical students. JAOA Medical Education, 106(9), 571-578.

Surveyed students about their preferences and attitudes towards using computers to learn anatomy.  Opinions varied based on technology literacy with students that had advanced computer skills showing a preference for leaning using computers while others thought the learned best through books and lectures.  Highlights the need to adequately train students in technology and to maintain traditional teaching methods while incorporating technology.

Bay, BH & Ling EA. (2007). Teaching of anatomy in the new millennium. Singapore Medical Journal. 48(3), 182-183.

Surveyed professional anatomists and found that they there preferences for learning anatomy ranked in descending order: cadaver dissection, prosection, living and radiological anatomy, computer aided learning, lectures and the use of models.  The authors acknowledge the difficulties associated with training on cadavers but stress that the method is the best teacher.

Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008). The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775-786. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2007.00793.x.

Sought to find out if so called digital natives really learn differently.  While a very large number of subjects owned computers and cell phones, most used basic technology and few created multimedia content.  It was also uncommon for them to be proficient in emerging technology.  Argued that claims that this generation learns differently are overarching and without proof.

Kennedy, G., Judd, T., Churchward, A., Gray, K., & Krause, K. (2008). First year students' experiences with technology: Are they really digital natives?. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24(1), 108-122. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.

The authors investigated the true technology skills of incoming college students and found that while they were very proficient in their daily use of technology, that proficiency did not transfer to emerging technology or unfamiliar platforms.

Cross, T. (2006). Digital Immigrants, Natives, and "Tweeners": A Glimpse Into the Future for Our Students With Gifts and Talents. Gifted Child Today, 29(3), 52-53. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.

Highlights that technology has its own language and that today’s students speak in fluently and comfortably.   Also states that this proficiency is increasing with each younger students as they grow up with increasing exposure.

Sandars, J. (2006). The e-learning site. Education for Primary Care, 17(5), 516-517. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.

Today’s students do not see technology as something distinct but as part of normal life.  The author is especially focused on social networking and the powere of sharing information.

Week 3 Practical Experience Photoshop CS5 Blending

I have decided to explore Photoshop CS5 for my practical experience.  I have a desire to learn how to extract, merge, and blend photos to create surreal images.  In particular, I would like to take action photographs that I have taken of my dancers, extract the images from the background and combine them with photos of the construction zone on our campus which is currently being rebuilt.  I started tutorials on and began with blending.

In the first tutorial, these 3 images are combined to create an interesting advertisement.  This is just what I need for my next program.  The three shots are combined using layers and adjusting opacity and light.  While the instructor goes through numerous shortcuts, I prefer the logic of the mouse.  I learned how to easily blend to create images that are more engaging and more exciting.  I also learned the shortcut of using the "move" tool with option to make duplicates of the flamenco dancer in this shot to create this final image:

I am looking forward to gaining new skill in photo editing and using my skills to create programs and marketing material for my dance department.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Here is a concise message about Go Animate, a fun and interactive Web 2.0 tool.

BP10_Comment to Trina

Follow this link to my comment to Trina.

BP9_Comment to Tyler

Follow this link to my comment to Tyler.


I have another great Web 2.0 tool to share.  Go Animate allows artists and non-artists alike the opportunity to create fun and interactive animations.  One of the best parts of this site is the tutorial, which walks you through the simple steps to animate.  I plan to use this in my dance history class for our next project.  Students will choose an era from the 4 we have just studied and use the animations to share information about how dance was tied to culture during these specific time periods.  The process of editing down material to the most important parts will give them practice in synthesizing material and sharing with classmates will help everyone prepare for tests.  I hope this will provide a fun and effective review of material.  

This tool is quick to get started on and allows the user to be creative with the delivery.  It offers multiple scenes to choose from and allows users to pick premade characters or create one of their own.  Students will be able to add music and narration or voice bubbles with text.  The toolbar is easy to understand and scenes, characters and props are added by drag and drop.  The timeline allows you to manipulate the length of scenes.  The trickiest part of the program is coordinating the movements of characters and objects.  After watching sample videos, I was motivated to learn more about this program.  There are numerous free options available and for minimal cost, users can have access to advanced features.   I can’t wait to try out this exciting tool.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Šorgo, A. (2006). Dichotomous Identification Keys: A Ladder to Higher Order Knowledge about the Human Body. Science Activities, 43(3), 17-20. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.

Traditionally students are taught anatomy at the lower end of Blooms taxonomy with memorization and textbook learning.  Recommend grouping structures by key features, or identification keys.  Helps students put information into context and think wholistically.

Pereira, J., Pleguezuelos, E., Merí, A., Molina-Ros, A., Molina-Tomás, M., & Masdeu, C. (2007). Effectiveness of using blended learning strategies for teaching and learning human anatomy. Medical Education, 41(2), 189-195. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2929.2006.02672.x.

Found that blended learning strategies were more effective than traditional teaching methods.  This study showed an increase pass rate for student tests.

Mclachlan, J., & De Bere, S. (2004). How we teach anatomy without cadavers. Clinical Teacher, 1(2), 49-52. doi:10.1111/j.1743-498X.2004.00038.x.

Peninsula Medical school in the UK is using surface anatomy and digital imaging to teach anatomy instead of cadavers.  They believe that this most closely approximates how doctors experience the human body in practice.  Computer 2D and 3D models are used in conjunction with teacher direction to provide context.

Dobbins, C., Kanhere, A., & Maddern, G. (2007). SE03 ANATOMY IN THE VIRTUAL WORLD. ANZ Journal of Surgery, 7777. doi:10.1111/j.1445-2197.2007.04129_3.x.

Looks at the use of 3D virtual reality tools in teaching surgical technique.  Results showed that students found the use of 3D virtual tools helpful in learning.

Brigden, D., Dangerfield, P., & Memon, M. (2009). SE14P USING DVDS TO ENHANCE THE TEACHING OF HUMAN ANATOMY. ANZ Journal of Surgery, 79A73. doi:10.1111/j.1445-2197.2009.04930_14.x.

Asserts that traditional 2D teaching materials fail to help students conceptualize in true 3D form.  In this case, the 3D models on DVD were created from a real cadaver.

Perry, J., Kuehn, D., & Langiois, R. (2007). Teaching Anatomy and Physiology Using Computer-Based, Stereoscopic Images. Journal of College Science Teaching, 36(4), 18-23. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.

Reiterate the difficulty and cost involved in cadaver study.  While animal studies offer an alternative, animal bodies have key differences.  Images in books that are 2D oversimplify structures while 3D technology allows students to master the complexities of the human body.  Almost all students in this study found the use of 3D stereoscopic images helpful in learning anatomy.  The images helped them visualize better and they liked being able to have more time to view images and to be able to view them on their own.

Monday, September 6, 2010


I found an outstanding Web 2.0 tool called Edmodo, which I plan to use for my AR project.  Edmodo is a powerful tool for interacting with students and sharing information and assignments.  Upon entering the site, there is an easy to follow video tutorial, which allows teachers to quickly set up an account and create a group.  The site allows teachers to distribute a code for student access and student emails are optional.  After creating a group, teachers simply invite students and give them the access code.  On the home page, there is a post bubble and instructors can choose to post an alert, assignment or poll.  You can choose to send to an individual, multiple individuals, groups or multiple groups.  Assignments can be created or uploaded from a file on the instructor’s computer.  When students post a reply it is date tagged and facilitators can reply individually or publicly and add a tag or filter for later organization.  Choose options like email, text or twitter to get notifications.  The site allows the management of multiple groups.  Teachers can organize messages using the tags and filters to save time in later retrieval.  The system includes a gradebook to easily track student progress.  Teachers can connect with other teachers to share ideas through the site as well.  The group page even has a calendar so that students can keep track of assignments and a library to consolidates links sent to the group.  The site is simple enough to easily manage information yet offers enough features to be useful.  I have used similar platforms offered by the school district but had difficulty with students handling the complexity of the system and with student access problems.  Frequently, students forgot the N# assigned to them and occasionally numbers were deleted or did not work.  With this site, everyone has the same access code and students can easily access the system from any other computer.  The site is easy to understand and eliminates the frustration of hunting for information and assignments.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


AR Notes

Silén, C., Wirell, S., Kvist, J., Nylander, E., & Smedby, Ö. (2008). Advanced 3D visualization in student-centred medical education. Medical Teacher, 30(5), 115-124. doi:10.1080/01421590801932228.

Study used CT and MR images to create 3D visualizations and used them to teach anatomy. “The virtual dissections gave a clearer picture than
ordinary dissections and the possibility to turn structures around was instructive.”
3D images are relatively easy and inexpensive to produce compared to dissection.  These help students gain spatial awareness of where things are located in a real body.  When surveyed students responded that the images helped them to understand better when presented in conjunction with other teaching practices such as lectures and books.  Students also preferred to have an instructor available to help interpret images.

Winkelmann, A. (2007). Anatomical dissection as a teaching method in medical school: a review of the evidence. Medical Education, 41(1), 15-22. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2929.2006.02625.x.

This article reviews studies of different methods of teaching anatomy.  Methods include cadaver dissection, prosected material and computerized models.  While dissection seems to offer an advantage over prosection, computer aided methods were also successful.  The author sees too many interfering variables to state with certainty which method is best and suggests, “I see 3 basic options for future research strategies: the first would follow the strategy of most of the studies reviewed here in comparing 2 courses, such as a course based on dissection and or prosection of human cadavers and a course based on modern, computerised teaching material without any cadaver contact.”

Older, J. (2004). Anatomy: A must for teaching the next generation. Surgeon (Edinburgh University Press), 2(2), 79-90. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

The author asserts that traditional methods like dissection are being replaced with computer programs and plastic models and that medical institutions have not gathered research on whether these new teaching systems are effective.  Older believes that cadavers are the best way to teach anatomical variation and that computer models are too simplistic.

Babaian, C. (2009). Back to the Drawing Board Reconstructing DaVinci's Vitruvian Man To Teach Anatomy. American Biology Teacher, 71(4), 205-208. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

Babaian emphasizes the simplistic use of the blackboard and chalk in teaching anatomy concepts.  Using drawing and tapping in the creative side of individuals leads to better understanding.  Allows teachers to use creativity in delivery of information.

Lewis, M. (2003). Computer-assisted learning for teaching anatomy and physiology in subjects allied to medicine. Medical Teacher, 25(2), 204-206. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

Authors could not determine if CAL communicated the information better but did feel that in captured students curiosity and attention leading to better learning.  Thought to engage different learning styles and offer an important supplement to traditional methods.

Rizzolo, L., Stewart, W., O'Brien, M., Haims, A., Rando, W., Abrahams, J., et al. (2006). Design principles for developing an efficient clinical anatomy course. Medical Teacher, 28(2), 142-151. doi:10.1080/01421590500343065.

Anatomy computer programs can offer students specific challenges and provide immediate feedback which offers students valuable practice.  Students showed a preference for web-based self assessment over its use for teaching content.  Students felt they learned best with a combination of approaches including computer-based programs.  Instead of memorizing structures, students learned best by using problem-solving approaches.

BP_Diigo Group

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

BP2_iGoogle Screen Shots

BP1_Google Reader

During my search I found many interesting blogs that were directly relevant to what I do professionally.  The RSS feeds make it quick and simple for me to keep up with important news in my field and offer topics for classroom discussions and projects.’s Sports Medicine page offers important information about injury prevention and treatment.  Posts even delve into the psychology of sports injury.  Injuries are a common occurrence in the field of dance due to the extremes to which the body is pushed and information on injuries is vital to safe performance.  Dance Advantage contains the latest dance news on dancers and companies and also offers some personal insight into teaching dance and studying dance as a student.  It also contains pictures and links related to dance.  The Dance Teacher blog is an extension of the magazine of the same name.  This feed focuses on classroom curriculum and teaching methods.  In addition, it offers music suggestions for class and performance ideas and advice.  There are practical ideas to implement for class and even links to instructional videos.  Pointe Magazine’s blog has a focus on the personal experiences of dancers and the posts are specifically related to ballet.  The blog gives an intimate view of common struggles dancers face and will give me deeper insight into the struggles my students face.  It also provides a realistic view of challenges faced in the profession and will offer interesting topics for student discussions and journal writings.  My final blog subscription is to Free Technology for Teachers.  This site offers ideas for incorporating technology in the classroom and gives the free resources for the technology.  I found a great blog on 7 sites for copyright-friendly images.  At the end of each post there are related links including lesson plans incorporating the topic of the blog and the option to email or share the post.  Photograph by Melissa Lodhi.