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Science Without Borders: PEER Gets International Attention With Histology Videos

Posted September 27, 2017

PEERAnimalDay

The CVM PEER program reached more than 101,000 students last year through its online resources and presentations to youth all over the state.

Knowledge of histology is important in understanding cell biological structure and function, disease states, and therapeutic treatment.

Digital histologic images, online lessons, and YouTube videos provide a mechanism to bring high-quality histology to the world with visualizations available anywhere and anytime without the need for a microscope.

To increase education on histology, the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ (CVM) PEER program created YouTube videos and PowerPoint lessons that were placed online so that the information would be available worldwide, and at no cost to users.

As a result of that project, the YouTube channel devoted to histology has received 598,714 views, 72 percent of which have come from international guests.

“Students interest in animals crosses all borders and cultures,” said Torri Whitaker, PEER Program STEM content specialist. “PEER has effectively harnessed this interest and is, thereby, able to inspire young people to pursue veterinary science and STEM education and careers.”

The lessons, both videos and PowerPoints, were made for three groups of students—freshmen undergraduate, upper-class undergraduate and medical students—and cover most of the body. In addition, PEER has created PowerPoint lessons for most of the animal body, which are available for veterinary students.

The PowerPoint slides also have hyperlinks to access the corresponding digital histologic images, which allow students to visualize—via a computer, tablet, or phone—the digital images as if they were looking through a microscope themselves, according to Larry Johnson, professor in the CVM’s department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences and PEER principal investigator.

The PEER YouTube channel has more than 7,718 subscribers since its inception in January 2013.

“The videos have received several comments from all over the world,” Johnson said. “One medical student from South Africa commented that she needed a histology instructor and now she has a virtual one.”

Over the last year, teachers and others who are interested in science have downloaded more than 50,200 times the curricular materials available from the PEER website, while videos have received almost 12,000 views during the same time period.

In addition, more than 101,000 students have participated in veterinary-related STEM webcasts offered by PEER, representing 40 states across the U.S.

“The large continued impact of PEER resources demonstrates the high demand of teachers and students for materials that provide real-world application of science standards,” Whitaker said. “Educators have many standards- and information-based resources available to them, but few of these resources make direct application of that information to actual careers.

“Further, the careers and professionals PEER showcases are those in which students have an innate interest, as they relate to themselves or another living creature with which they have a relationship,” she said.

The videos are available at http://www.youtube.com/vibshistology and the PowerPoint resources are available at http://peer.tamu.edu/histology.asp.



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