MLEC students use virtual cadaver to learn biology

Education By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Friday, December 16, 2022

MLEC students use virtual cadaver to learn biology

Miami Lakes Educational Center students have an alternative to dissecting a formaldehyde-scented frog or other animal in biology class.

     Those in the Academy of Health Science are using virtual dissection technology to study the human body. 

     The public magnet school at 5780 NW 158th St. offers technical education courses in six academies for students in grades 9-to-12. 

     And for those who aspire to become medical assistants; nursing assistants; dental assistants; emergency medical responders; or pharmacy techs or eventually work as a practical nurse, the Academy of Health Science offers the Anatomage Table.

     The human body, whether the veins, organs, skeleton or parts, whole or dissected, are displayed on a lighted table in 3-D, which has a touch screen. 

     “It gives the kids the opportunity to practice doing surgery on human bodies,” said David Galarce, magnet coordinator at the award-winning school who says the table allows students to practice without needing a cadaver. 

     The manufacturer’s website says the table also provides medical simulations and has options for dental imaging and for veterinarian courses. 

     The school obtained the table thanks to the efforts of Principal Yaset 

Fernandez, who saw one at a charter school convention in 2021.

     The device retails for $70,000, but the school was given a discount price of $49,999 because MLEC is part of the Magnet Schools of America, Fernandez said in an email. 

     Also, the educator obtained a grant to pay for it.

    “[It was a] Florida Department of Education, Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education grant,” Fernandez said. 

      Academy of Health Science students use the table during the day while adult students in the Technical College use it at night, he said. 

     After a delay in production, the table arrived at the school in October. 

     “Our principal was always looking to see how he can [improve] our facility and the resources we provide to our students,” Galarce said.

     Goals of the school include ensuring that its students get hands on experience and to also have programs aligned with industry standards. 

      “He worked to get the grants and funding together because we wanted to give our students that experience,” Galarce said of Fernandez’s efforts. 

     The Anatomage table can be used in all levels of education for students to practice different scenarios, the manufacturer’s website said. 

     The school also uses manikins that enable students to learn procedures such as inserting medical devices in patients. 

     For pharmacy tech students, “[They also] work together with other medical students because the table provides case studies and will come with different diagnoses and situations,” Galarce said. 

     Galarce said the table helps prepare students to enter the work force with the necessary skills. 

     Miami Lakes Educational Center has won several awards; the school district recently recognized it as a STEM Platinum School for providing high-quality programs for students in various fields of study.