Story and photos by JUSTINA ZIEGLER
Pima Community College is on the verge of revolutionizing its education programs with cutting-edge virtual reality technology and advanced teaching ideas.
Devin Marble wrote the proposal that persuaded Pima to invest in an Insta360Pro video camera, which was obtained last month. Marble is a paramedicine instructor, video skills specialist, Tucson Medical Center medic and PCC student working toward a master’s degree.
The Insta360Pro camera can record in 3D with live-streaming capabilities. It shoots up to 8K; for example, Imax shoots 4K. This camera can stream 4K live. Currently, 8K is the best resolution available in ultra-high definition.
“We’re likely the only college in the Western hemisphere with this camera,” Marble said. “And we’re likely the only medic college in the country doing this.”
Marble created the video skills department and a YouTube channel, PimaParamedics, with adjunct educational videos for paramedics prior to Pima getting the camera.
Now he is uploading new training videos using the VR camera. He says anyone can look up PimaParamedics on Youtube or Twitter to view the numerous videos he has made and also request certain lessons to be made.
He hopes to take the video lessons to the next level and evolve the paramedic program along with other programs, student learning and online classes.
“Imagine online learning where you can be in the classroom, looking from the student’s point of view,” Marble said. “You could see the Power Points and hear the questions students ask, hear the lecture and be able to look around as if you were there. This is VR education you could pull up on your phone, tablet or computer easily.”
Marble uses the camera for the paramedic program to give students the chance to see from the patient’s perspective. The viewers can look around the ambulance and up at the instructor from the gurney by scrolling or moving their screens, as the instructor treats the camera attached to a cadaver’s helmet as the patient.
The instructor verbalizes everything he is doing to the camera and shows the correct way to treat conditions and handle situations on the cadaver.
“What this provides is perspective and empathy,” said Marble, noting that the equipment also provides another tool for students to use to soak up information they need to learn in a new way.
Chris Christensen, the lead paramedicine instructor, agreed.
“I think it provides another way to reinforce information learned in class,” Christensen said. “Every student has a different learning style. This provides another avenue to give them information; another tool in the toolbox.”
Corwim Pena, paramedicine student, thinks using the VR as a teaching tool is beneficial.
“I think it’s going to be extremely helpful, a lot of students are visual/hands-on learners,” Pena said. “This breaks the monotony of reading or listening to lectures.”
Marble also says this technology gives the college a chance to use the equipment it already has more often, such as tablets and their cadavers. He said the tablets typically are used for testing but then sit collecting dust. Now, the instructional videos give them a chance to be used more
“These 15-16 gigabyte videos are also free to post; Google already invested in that infrastructure,” Marble said. “Anyone can reap the benefits of these videos over and over, and students don’t pay more in their tuition for this.”
The “cadavers” used in the paramedicine training are highly advanced themselves. They blink, their lungs fill with air and they have pulses. One simulates giving birth, one hemorrhages and squirts blood, and the instructor can control what the cadavers say, or scream, through a tablet.
The Insta360Pro can be used to make training videos on treating the cadavers’ various mechanical ailments.
“These are the people saving Tucson lives,” Marble said. “They deserve to have the best education. In the wake of recent tragic events in Las Vegas, our attempts to improve first responder education with VR is very topical.”
Marble said he plans to work with firefighter and police training programs to create educational videos for them. His first idea for police training is a VR traffic stop situation.
“Imagine you’re in the driver’s seat, you get pulled over, you’re reaching for your wallet,” Marble said. “Then you see the cop with the gun pointed at you and go through the traffic stop from the driver’s point of view. Then you get to switch perspectives and see from the cop’s point of view, and see that you couldn’t see what the driver was reaching for.
“It provides perspective and improves empathy.”
Marble is the driving force behind learning how to use this camera and creating test videos. He credits PCC TV for helping him through the whole learning experience.
“They want to use this to record graduation,” Marble said. “Imagine you have a family member who can’t make it. They could feel like they’re there watching it in 3D live. They’ve been very generous with their time and helping get this on its way.”
Marble also credits Sharon Hollingsworth, leader of PCC’s paramedic program, for her support and the success in Pima obtaining the camera.
“I could not have done this without her,” Marble said. “She’s been very supportive of using new technology to improve education.”
Hollingsworth says she has not seen this camera used in this industry.
“One of our strengths is that we try to teach such a diverse population,” Hollingsworth said. “We are always looking for ways to enhance our delivery and meet the students’ learning needs.”
Hollingsworth also said Tucson Medical Center is interested in working with them to create medical training videos.
Marble said he is very excited about what he and the college are doing to revolutionize learning.
“I’m incredibly fortunate to be given an opportunity to make a difference,” Marble said.
“This can be used in all areas of education. Online learning does not have to be flat. It can be dynamic; the infrastructure is already there. Wouldn’t it be cool if your online education became real?”