Since the modern transformation in Information Communication Technology, the science of histology and histopathology has not been spared the extensive influence of the power of technology. It is now possible for students to be taught not only through visual-aids but through the Internet.
Computer devices that make this possible are called multimedia. This paper will review these devices and how they have improved the science, education and practice of histopathology as a medical science.
The Webster dictionary defines histology as ‘ the branch of biology concerned with the microscopic study of the structure of tissues.
In the same vein, the medical dictionary defines histology as ‘The study of the form of structures seen under the microscope. Also called microscopic anatomy, as opposed to gross anatomy which involves structures that can be observed with the naked eye.'
Histopathology in the other sense is defined as ‘the science concerned with the study of microscopic changes in diseased tissues.’
For the purpose of this paper, histology could be defined as the microscopical study of normal tissues while histopathology is the microscopical study of diseased tissues.
These are applications that integrate text, pictures, motion pictures, animated graphics and sound. They are used with the computer system. In this way, the computer is not only seen as a working or educational tool but an entertainment medium. Multimedia applications relate directly to :
CPU, CD ROM/DVD drive, Sound Card, Graphic Card Display Monitor and Editors.
Multimedia applications as it relates to the study and practice of histopathology shall be discussed as follows:
1. Animations: These are moving diagrams or cartoons that move in sequence of images displayed one after the other. DiGiacinto D and Fisk G has written extensively on the effectiveness of learning when verbal instruction is combined with visual demonstrations. This becomes especially useful when dealing with a complex informaiton. O’Day D.H. also demonstrated how to provide simulated experiences to assist learners in comprehending detailed processes using powerpoint and Camtasia.
2. Audience Response System: This is a software package that work intuitively with PowerPoint to create interactive presentations that engage participants, assess learning and promote discussion. This system particularly promote real-time learning whereby lecturers can gauge the level of student comprehension. The Mayo Clinic has been exceptional in the use of this technology for its histopathology training program.
3. Web-Based Course Management System: This education system allow educational institutions to deliver online curriculum via the Intranet. Students are able to access lectures with voice-over audio recording wherever they may be and at anytime they wish once there is Internet connection. This system thus make it possible for student to consolidate knowledge gained during class instructions. It is also interesting to understand that this system allow teachers to provide online examinations which can be graded by the system and returned to students for immediate feedback. The Open, long distance learning system benefits a lot from the technology. Above all, this system also allow for knowledge acquisition by students or practitioners with different learning styles through the incorporation of pictures, text, animations and videos.
4. Camtasia Studio/Camstudio: This is an audio, voice-over recording software which could be used in synchrony with PowerPoint presentations. Lectures can be recorded and uploaded to the web-based course management system. Students can then access the lectures at their convenience and as often as they need. A powerful open source alternative to Camtasia is Camstudio which is simple to use and easy to download.
5. Adobe Contribute CS3: This web publishing tool is mainly used to create and edit web content. Weekly calendars are published and information are posted for student’s update.
6. Teleconference: This technology makes it possible for remote presentations to be made mostly by well established global organisations like the National Society for Histotechnology (NSH) or the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). It provides current trends from experts in the field of pathology in real-time.
7. Videos: Videos enhance learning through active demonstration of histopathology techniques. It could be used to assist students in understand basic concepts of the science of histopathology e.g. microscopy, types of biopsies and histopathology techniques.
From the above multimedia applications in use, it is evidently clear that the following are achieved:
1. Enhancement of educational presentations and learning through in-depth, detail both visual and verbal thus enhancing continuing education.
2. Creation of PowerPoint presentations that contain questions to evaluate the progress, performance and knowledge of students.
3. Enhancement of formalized learning through structured online courseware that can be modified to fit the needs of learners.
4. Liberty to view presentations at learner’s convenience which has contributed to continuing professional development in great measure.
5. Leverage for education team to create web pages that contain calendars, newsletters and education venues and web forms to request for credit and teleconference materials.
6. Provision of latest information pertinent to areas of specialization and education which has enhanced general understanding of topical issues.
Websites For Incorporated Multimedia Education
The following websites are a great resource for multimedia use in histopathology:
1. icrocomputing and www, National Open Uninversity pg. 91
2. O’Day DH: How to make pedagogically meaningful animations for teaching and research using PowerPoint and Camtasia. Proceedings of the IPSI-2006, International Conference on Advances in the Internet, Processing, Systems, and Interdisciplinary Research, Chapter IV; February 6; Marbella, Spain. 2000b
3. DiGiacinto D: Using multimedia effectively in the teaching-learning process. J Allied Health 36:176-179, 2007.
4. Fisk G: Using animation in forensic pathology and science education. LabMedicine 39:587-592, 2008.