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CU School of Dental Medicine Recognized as an Apple Distinguished School

Digitizing the learning environment to provide students with an exceptional learning experience

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Written by SDM Comms on January 26, 2022

Digital Education at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine (CU SDM) blends the sustainable, best-practice use of existing tools and workflows while bringing in the latest innovative technology to amplify education from all sides. Supported by the faculty and the CU SDM leadership team, Apple products have been incorporated as a significant element of our learning culture to meet students and faculty where they are and beyond.

The school is pleased to be recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for 2021-2024 for its continuous innovation in learning, teaching, and the school environment.

CU SDM is integrating augmented and virtual reality simulations into workshops, courses, and curricula. Technology positively shifts the paradigm of how we educate, collaborate, and build organic learning communities that thrive despite the changing logistics of today's world.

Our digital education focus remains on learning communities and collaborative educational environments. We are focused on one-to-one programs of MacBook and iPad Pros for faculty and students and teaching apps connecting within video calls for teaching and learning. Both objectives allow for personal flexibility.

Technology & Simulation
At this time, the school is putting a significant emphasis on simulation technology. We are currently integrating one-to-one augmented reality experiences being built within the Apple Reality Composer framework. The goal is to use this technology to allow students to interact with detailed 3D models. Additionally, this technology is being used for an avatar program being built to support acquiring the soft skills of working with patients and training diversity, equity, and inclusion, that will be integrated into conventional simulation clinical skills acquisition.
"The SDM has created unique opportunities in dental education by combining different learning technologies to support conceptual approaches in simulated patient care, ” shared Tracy de Peralta, DMD, PhD, MClinEd, Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Innovation. “Our innovation team is setting the scene for our students through the use of virtual reality, where emotional avatars present realistic patient scenarios to dental students, requiring them to critically think through challenging situations in patient care .”
Simulation can be very impactful as these real-life scenarios help dental students learn a person-centered care approach, where the focus is beyond the condition and emphasizes the patient's emotional needs, care preferences, and respecting a patient's desires and values.
Simulation Innovation Expertise Team
The School of Dental Medicine has also assembled the Simulation Innovation Expertise Team. 
The team consists of staff and faculty members: 
• Clint Carlson, (former) Program Director of Digital Education and Academic Technology
• Emanouela Carlson, DDS; Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Surgical Dentistry, Chair, Division of Endodontics
• James DeLapp, DDS, MS; Clinical Associate Professor 
• Tracy de Peralta, DMD, PhD, MClinEd; Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Innovation
• Tom Greany, DDS; Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Restorative Dentistry, Director of Academic Technology Initiatives
• Kunjan Kakar, DDS, MS, BDS; Assistant Professor, Department of Restorative Dentistry
• Jennipher Murphy, MS Ed; Program Director for Faculty Development
• Chaitanya Puranik PhD, MDS, MS, BDS; Clinical Assistant Professor 
• Amisha Singh, DDS; Director of Diversity and Inclusion Programming Clinical Assistant Professor
• Doug Wilson, DMD, MSD; Clinical Associate Professor 

These team members are helping to design a new General Practice Simulation space to open in 2023, along with furthering the dental school's innovation focus.
"We are committed to providing students with an exceptional educational experience that integrates a host of learning and clinical technologies. The Apple Distinguished School recognition is a welcome affirmation of the impact of those efforts," shared Dean Denise Kassebaum, DDS, MS.