Virtual reality surgery, mannequins that give birth, 3D printer art therapy. These were only a few of the fascinating intersections of technology and medicine that KidsTek students learned about during their field trip to Children’s Hospital Colorado and CU School of Medicine. Robert Franklin II, Manager of Diversity, Health Equity & Inclusion at Children’s Hospital and long-time friend of KidsTek, led Intro to Computer Science students from Hinkley High School on an unforgettable tour and introduced the group to a number of fascinating speakers from a wide variety of careers and fields within the hospital system.
The group kicked off the morning by visiting Seacrest Studio at Children’s. This state-of-the-art studio allows patients to connect across mediums, whether DJing on their closed circuit TV channel, participating in weekly live Bingo games, or conducting interviews with celebrity guests like Ed Sheeran. Hinkley students learned how to control the multi-camera set up, played with a sound board, and explored the multitude of other tech that the studio uses.
Next, KidsTek toured the T(w)een Zone and maker space, an area designed for teens and tweens, whether patients or family. In these spaces, teens can relax in front of a big screen tv, play video games or pool, and engage in creative activities like 3D printing and design. Students also learned about the wide variety of careers that go into creating these kinds of positive experiences for patients and families, from Child Life Specialists to Therapy Dog Handlers to the staff of the Extended Reality Program, which uses VR and AR technologies as part of patient treatment and support.
After a quick walk over to the CU School of Medicine campus next door to Children’s, KidsTek students got an in-depth tour of CAPE, the Center for Advanced Professional Excellence. At CAPE, current and future medical professionals engage in hands-on learning through cutting edge technologies. Medical students might gain experience in obstetrics by working with a mechanized, silicon-skinned mannequin that screams and gives birth to a mannequin baby, use a VR headset to practice reacting in emergency code situations, or practice their bedside manner and diagnostic skills with “standardized patients”–actors that portray specified patient scenarios for training purposes. After a pizza lunch and plenty of jokes about mannequins coming alive, it was time to head back to Hinkley.
Thank you to Robert and the amazing staff at Children’s and CAPE for providing this truly one-of-a-kind experience for our students! We are incredibly grateful for your hard work and passion on behalf of our students and your patients.