Conference Highlights Technology’s Role in Education


LEARNING THROUGH SIMULATION: Tulsa Tech health occupations students use a fully functional 3-D medical patient simulator to help learn terminology and concepts related to their program.

Courtesy Tulsa Tech

In December, career and technical education professionals from across the country gathered in Las Vegas, Nev., Dec. 4-7 for the Association for Career and Technical Education () national conference, VISION 2013.

is the nation’s largest not-for-profit education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. Founded in 1926, has more than 25,000 members, including career and technical educators, administrators, researchers, guidance counselors, and others involved in planning and conducting career and technical education programs at the secondary, postsecondary and adult levels.

Dr. Paul Kroutter, Jr., a member of Tulsa Tech’s Board of Education since 2004, and retired Broken Arrow Police Captain, presented “Simulation and Virtual Technologies for Workforce Learning” at this year’s conference. Kroutter currently serves as Department Head for Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Arkansas – Ft. Smith.

As a member of a consortium of educators, Kroutter helped develop a research project to illustrate how technology can be utilized successfully in the classroom and how simulations and concepts related to virtual realities can be customized to fit the needs of a specific group. One of Kroutter’s contributions to this collaborative effort was a research project involving a 3-D medical patient mannequin and health occupations students who speak English as a second language. These students are often referred to as students by educators.

“Our group of students were struggling to understand both the terminology and concepts,” Kroutter says. “After we introduced the 3-D medical patient simulator, the results and the improvement we observed with this group of students was very dramatic.”

This particular component of the research project was a time-based study, with student test scores evaluated both before and after their introduction to the patient simulator.

“The results were immediate and almost overnight,” he says. “And this helps demonstrate how these technologies can be utilized in different ways for many different groups.”

Another contribution from Kroutter to the overall project was to develop a virtual crime scene that allows students to become immersed in a 360-degree world of an actual crime scene. Students are able to learn all of the steps related to processing the location of a possible crime while their progress is monitored and evaluated by their instructor.

“There’s so much information that needs to be observed and recorded by the students when they arrive on scene,” Kroutter says. “These virtual environments allow the students to gain valuable experience and to become part of this simulated learning environment.”

Simulations and virtual realities will continue to have an impact on our real world as they become more frequent in our daily lives, in everything from entertainment and games, to education and instruction.

“There’s still a lot of research to be done,” Kroutter says. “Especially when we look at these technologies and their impact on individual learners and their characteristics, including age, cognitive styles, gender and life experiences.”

If you’re currently looking for exciting classes for high school and adult students, quality business and industry training, or an opportunity to research a new career, Tulsa Tech invites you to visit today. For more information, please call 918-828-5000 or visit us online at

Updated 12-30-2013

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