Samuli “Sam” Rauhalammi is from Finland by way of Glasgow, Scotland.
Sam’s training includes both a fine arts degree and a master’s degree in Medical Visualization and Human Anatomy.
Today Sam teaches at Central Arizona College, located between Phoenix and Tucson. He is Professor of Biological Sciences. With a community college budget, he knew cadaveric dissections were not a possibility.
“It wasn’t an option,” he says.
Sam also saw that students today are not responsive to what he calls “lecture-driven education.”
Sam’s dean knew of Sam’s keen interest in anatomy, his extensive history with cadavers, and art.
One day, Sam’s dean walked into his office and said, “I think I’ve found your calling.”
Soon, Sam was attending a professional development in Portland, Oregon and learning how the ANATOMY IN CLAY® Learning System makes for an excellent alternative—and complement—to other forms of learning anatomy.
Today, 14 students in BIO201 and BIO202 are experiencing a new form of learning, using clay to form anatomical systems of the human body. In fact, each student received a ½ MANIKEN® skeleton model that will stay with that individual student for the two years they are enrolled in biology courses.
Sam had a hunch the hands-on learning style would be a big hit, but he wanted to make sure the models were effective.
So, what does someone with a background in medical research do?
Why, run a study of course.
One of Sam’s classes received the ANATOMY IN CLAY® models. And another class did not. The students in the “regular” class stuck with visualizing systems using things like marshmallows and straws for the spine or squashing up paper to conceptualize the brain.
In the ANATOMY IN CLAY® classrooms, Sam ditched all the lectures. He encouraged students to discover on their own, to shape, build, and apply the clay shapes to the skeleton to see how they function and interconnect.
The study is still going on. As a result, we don’t have any hard data to report.
But Sam noticed something important.
Enthusiasm is up. Happiness is up. And attendance is up.
“They are not missing classes,” says Sam. “Once they are committed to their MANIKEN® models, they don’t want to miss the next step.”
Sam is also noticing better retention of the information being taught.
“I am seeing much more how we are able to hit on all of the learning styles, how we are able to deliver on something we as a field of educators have talked about for a long time, that it should not be instructor-centered class delivery,” he says. “But now really with a good conscience I can say it’s totally student driven and student centered and it is very much of a discovery, exploratory, hands-on learning that my students are doing. That’s my biggest joy with this all.”