Oakland Unified School District Launches Health Care Simulations Developed by Toolwire

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Initiative aims to engage and motivate high school students by immersing them in real world “virtual internships.”

Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), today announced it will soon launch a series of interactive health care simulations for high school students. Toolwire, a leading provider of online Experiential Learning products and solutions, co-created this multi-episode “Healthcare Experience and Real World Training” (H.E.A.R.T.) LearnScape with subject matter experts from OUSD and input from students at Life Academy of Health and Bioscience in Oakland.

This week Toolwire introduced these experiential learning simulations to program administrators and faculty members from Life Academy, Public Health Academy at Oakland High School, and the Health Academy at Oakland Technical High School. Over the next few months, these teachers will implement these online learning experiences into courses serving roughly 160 students (grades 10 through 12).

The James Irvine Foundation provided support for product development, with an interest to have this “virtual internship” available to multiple schools and thousands of California students as part of Linked Learning—a proven approach that is transforming education for California students by integrating rigorous academics with career-based learning and real world workplace experiences. To measure the effect of this innovative initiative, the Irvine Foundation has provided a grant to Learning for Action.

“Toolwire is truly honored to be a part of this exciting initiative, and we are grateful for the Irvine Foundation’s sponsorship, which has made this possible,” commented Cameron D. Crowe, Toolwire’s Executive Vice President.

The H.E.A.R.T. LearnScape incorporates California Career Technical Education Model Curriculum Health Science and Medical Technology (HSMT) Anchor Standards such as Communication, Problem Solving and Critical Thinking, Health and Safety, Responsibility and Flexibility, Ethics and Legal Responsibilities, and Leadership and Teamwork.

“It has been thrilling to work on this project,” said Susan Benz, Career Readiness Manager of the OUSD Linked Learning Office. “This LearnScape has been carefully designed to incorporate academic and technical skills and knowledge students need to pursue career opportunities in health science and medical technology fields. What I love about LearnScapes is how the upfront development effort results in a final product that can be scaled for reuse by faculty members to positively impact thousands of students across the state of California.”

Dr. Doug Beckwith, PhD, JD (Senior Fellow at Toolwire) is responsible for introducing the LearnScape to Life Academy faculty members. Dr. Beckwith, a former university Dean who was among the first to co-create LearnScapes with Toolwire and use them in his classroom, commented, “In addition to previewing the basic LearnScape content and features, we look forward to sharing proven best practices for incorporating these learning experiences into courses in ways that ignite classroom discussions, motivate students to investigate readings more deeply, and inspire students to dedicate themselves towards a larger goal of graduating from school and pursuing a successful, fulfilling career.”

“A key component of Linked Learning is providing high school students with real-world work experiences. The H.E.A.R.T. LearnScape supports this effort by providing students a consistent, high quality “virtual internship” experience with “virtual mentors” and integrated mechanisms for assessing student performance and providing dynamic remediation. This will prepare students for internships and other experiences on-site with health care employers. We are excited about the H.E.A.R.T. LearnScape launch and the potential to scale this initiative in the future,” said Carrie Portis, Senior Program Officer at the Irvine Foundation.

About Oakland Unified School District
The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is the State of California’s most improved urban school district over the past eight years, as measured by Academic Performance Index (API), California’s primary metric for measuring student achievement. During this time, the District’s 46,000 students have benefited from 128 points of API growth and a focus on the whole child embodied by OUSD’s “Community Schools, Thriving Students” vision of a full-service community school district. In this model, every school site offers high levels of learning along with physical health, mental health, dental and eye care; nutrition, physical education, recreation, before-school and afterschool programs; housing, employment, parenting and language acquisition courses and a range of other programs. Social and human services are not seen as extra or add-ons in these schools. Instead, collaboration in service of children and families is how they consistently behave. To learn more about “Community Schools, Thriving Students”, please visit: http://www.thrivingstudents.org.

About Toolwire
Toolwire specializes in the innovation of interactive online Experiential Learning products and solutions. For over 15 years, Toolwire has developed, hosted, and supported immersive learning technologies for the world’s leading institutions in education and corporate training across a spectrum of subjects including Student Success, General Education, Business, Health Care, Information Technology, and more. We believe that "learning by doing" provides the quickest, most effective way to develop skills, improve knowledge retention, and enhance student engagement and success. For more information about Toolwire’s game-based learning approach, view our short video “The Toolwire Difference”.

About the James Irvine Foundation
The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, successful and inclusive society. The Foundation’s grantmaking focuses on three program areas: Arts, California Democracy and Youth. Since 1937 the Foundation has provided over $1.3 billion in grants to more than 3,500 nonprofit organizations throughout California. With about $1.8 billion in assets, the Foundation made grants of $69 million in 2013 for the people of California.

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