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Samantha Davis Uses 3D Hearts in Classroom, Receives National Teaching Award

By: danyalusk   Published 11:41 am / October 24, 2018

Samantha DavisSamantha Davis, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Respiratory Care, has been selected to receive the 2018 National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) Gary A. Smith Educational Award for Innovation in Education Achievement, presented by the American Respiratory Care Foundation.

Davis was nominated and awarded for her work with the Boise State University MakerLab in the utilization of three-dimensional (3D) printers to demonstrate neonatal heart defects to her neonatal/pediatric respiratory care class. She created a new, visionary way for her students to study the heart by utilizing one of the many resources found on campus.

Davis improved student outcomes by creating a hands-on learning experience in an area that is usually studied from a picture in a textbook. Students had the opportunity to print a heart with an assigned defect and cut it into three or four slices to easily see the defect throughout the heart. Davis received very positive feedback from her students as they felt the 3D printing helped them learn the topic in an exceptional way.

Hands holding 3D neonatal hearts“Countless studies have shown us that engagement, application, and critical thinking are all significantly higher when active-learning strategies are used,” said Davis. “In the past, students have had to learn about neonatal heart defects through reading, discussion and computer animation. It’s a combination of problem solving, practical skill and creativity. Making allows you to take the great ideas you have and bring them to life where you can touch them, test them and make them even better.”

The award, which is named after Gary A. Smith, the CEO and executive director of the NBRC, was established to recognize innovative educational methods in formal respiratory care programs, clinical education, training programs and patient education programs that address current challenges in respiratory care education. The recipient of the award is required to create an innovative educational method that is creative, utilizes critical thinking skills, improves student outcomes, and focuses on the advancement of the respiratory care profession. The award includes $2,500 and a plaque. Davis will be the second recipient of the award.

Davis will receive the award at the American Association for Respiratory Care International Congress 2018 in Las Vegas in December, where she also will be presenting on this topic in the congress’s Ideas Theatre.

“Davis led the students in her class through an incredible and dynamic process of exploration, empowering them to gain new skills and dive into the subject matter content,” said Amy Vecchione, head of Emerging Technologies and Experiential Learning for the MakerLab within the Albertsons Library. “The teaching methodology she employed created engaged learners who exceeded the levels expected. I am inspired by learning and watching these students grow and learn.”

The MakerLab is an inclusive community with access to emerging technologies and an innovative culture of learning. The MakerLab is a free resource for students and faculty that offers 3D printing, vinyl cutting, videography accommodations and much more. Davis plans to utilize the MakerLab at every opportunity to create an environment of hands on learning in this and other classes.

To learn more about the award visit: