Gaming The System

GTS-Image1What’s the Best Way to Support the Future of Orthodontics?

[   ] Make Learning Fun

[   ] Give Professors Advanced Teaching Tools

[   ] Game the System

[X] All of the Above

If you’ve spent any time around the millennials—something everyone in orthodontics has done—there’s no doubt you’ve noticed the unique way these  newly-minted adults connect with the world. The less effort it takes them to communicate a thought, the better it is. This communicational Darwinism penalizes the loquacious while rewarding those who get  STR8-2-IT. But it’s not just their wording that’s evolving. Clinical studies now confirm the attention span of millennials has also decreased. Whether this is a profound societal trend, or you know, whatever, isn’t particularly relevant, orthodontically speaking. What is relevant is whether the current orthodontic educational model can keep this next generation engaged. With the release of “InQuizIt” and “Bracketology”, the Clinical Alliance for Research and Education (GCARE) is attempting to teach them the same way you reach them – via interactive media.

“InQuizIt” and “Bracketology” are two new, interactive web apps designed by GCARE and GAC. Part video game, part trivia night, they are designed to engage the student who’s had some type of media devices on them at all times. A recent study showed that millennials switch between different media types 27 times per hour. The standard “lecture and listen” environment simply won’t hold their attention. Which is why educators are embracing a concept known as micro-learning to help millennials consume information.

As the name would suggest, micro-learning is a way of teaching and delivering content in small, specific bursts. If the textbook represents traditional education models, then the text message is a good representation for  micro-learning. It isn’t meant to replace the teacher or the lecture, but complement them. This complementary role was also the idea behind the creation of Bracketology and InQuizIt.

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“The idea came about when we were trying to envision new tools for professors to better engage the residents,” said Todd Metts, Director Global Professional Services. “We’re teaching a clinical system, so we wanted to know how we could make it more entertaining and easier to engage students that grew up in an age of video games and social media. We looked at discussions they were having on bracket placement and that’s when the idea was born.”

Because precise bracket placement is essential in the Complete Clinical Orthodontics philosophy, a bracket placement program seemed like a natural fit. Bracketology features three specific cases for the user to address. After a single sentence description of the condition (micro-learning: short bursts of information), the player has to treat the case. They have a full, self-ligating prescription at their disposal, with each bracket being accessed with the click of a mouse. Once the complete prescription is placed, the user can check their “answers”. The placement of each bracket is checked, and then the user can make one round of changes. For the second attempt, the user has the ability to show either the FA point and/or the Andrews Plane.

“Bracket placement is the key to everything with self-ligation. If you’re looking to optimize your clinical results using a straight wire technique, bracket placement has to be correct. Since this is one of the first engagements with the resident, we want to emphasize placing the bracket in the correct position,” says Metts.

While the Bracketology program is a direct translation of the original idea, InQuizIt builds on this knowledge and takes the idea to the next level. InQuizIt picks up where Bracketology ends, after the brackets have been placed. Players are challenged with using the tools at their disposal to solve the preprogrammed cases. This starts with the leveling and aligning stage, goes into the working phase before concluding with the finishing phase. Upon completion of each case, all of the answers are re-presented to the user, who can then go back and review their answers.

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Photo realistic illustrations demonstrating brackets and wires in InQuizIt.

InQuizIt gives professors a more interactive environment than the traditional ‘assign then grade’ model. Once a professor is approved for “Teacher” log-in status, they can create their own “virtual classrooms” made up exclusively of the students they want to invite. The size of each “class” is up to the educator; it can be as personal as one-on-one, or as collaborative as an entire class. Educators can go into the program and review results and compare what the students are doing. The clinical options available to the teachers will grow as the CCO curriculum  is expanded.

“InQuizIt is scalable and can be adapted to really any scenario we want to put in front of students. Not only will this help develop curriculum and better engage students, we can add components to it as needed. It could be used to teach aligners or the use of a Herbst-style appliance, or you could use it to teach IPR, it’s wide open. How do you do an overjet or overbite?  What are your treatment options? How can you do a class II or a class III case? When the student leaves the clinic or the classroom, the teaching experience doesn’t have to be over. It’s a way to continue that engagement,” says Metts.

While a certain electronics company likes to brag “there’s an app for that”, GAC discovered that when it comes to orthodontic education, there wasn’t. Bracketology and InQuizIt are the world’s first orthodontic web apps for students. Given the amount of programming that went into the games—after all, this is the culmination of more  than a decade of secondary education—this isn’t surprising. This is especially true in today’s ROI driven marketplace.

“Most companies will engage students on a business level. But nobody else is going out to try and support the teachers at a university level, or trying to support the residents at a research level. It’s a long-term investment in orthodontics and those who teach it. To reach out to educational leaders with this kind of an opportunity is unprecedented. Nobody in orthodontics is willing to make this kind of a commitment. I have doctors tell me it’s nice to know a company you’re working with is doing something to support your specialty.”

So whether it’s the fast-txtn GENX-er, or an individual who meticulously considers the significance of each of their words, the idea of supporting orthodontic education is one that’s sure to be GR8ly appreciated.

Both Bracketology and InQuizIt can be found by visiting mygcare.com and following the ortho-hero link. Dr. Antonino Secchi will be available at the GAC booth to discuss any clinical questions about the games or to chat about whatever orthodontic topic is on your mind.

Clinical Backdrop

If the emphasis on bracket placement and treatment mechanics of the games looks familiar, then you’re probably acquainted with Dr. Antonino Secchi and the Complete Clinical Orthodontics System™. Dr. Secchi served as the chief clinical architect for both games. A strong advocate for education, Dr. Secchi is a part time professor at the University of Pennsylvania where he earned his DMD, Certificate in Orthodontics, and a Master of Science in Oral Biology. He was thrilled with how the games turned out.

“When people hear the word education, they assume it’s going to be someone speaking and someone listening. We wanted to turn things around and create an interactive experience for the end user. As an educator myself, I’m thrilled with how the games turned out.” Though Dr. Secchi was excited to offer his clinical input, one element he’s most excited about has yet to be determined. “I’m so curious to see how other educators will use the games. What kind of cases they’ll use, and what kind of solutions the residents will come up with. I’ve discovered that it’s always a two way street…teaching is a great way of learning.”

This article appears in OrthoWorld Spring Issue 2015

Click here for “InQuizIt” and “Bracketology”

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