Charles Wood Debbie Tyrrell Manetta Calinger Jackie Shia Lori Kudlak Laura Ondeck

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Abstract

Pandem-Sim is a live, distance-learning simulation where 10th-12th grade students perform as epidemiologists to investigate infectious disease outbreaks. Prior to a mission teachers review content and introduce students to the sim interfaces. During the mission students analyze data concerning demographics, symptoms and patient histories for a disease outbreak somewhere in the world. Student teams make initial diagnoses and order medical tests. If the tests do not confirm the diagnosis the process is repeated. Following correct diagnosis, students identify the transmission method, prescribe treatments, recommend procedures to contain the outbreak, and issue a public health alert. During the 90 minute simulation the Chief Epidemiologist (a STEM educator at Wheeling Jesuit University) asks students critical thinking questions. Pilot tests were conducted at four schools (78 students) with data analyzed from pre-post surveys, classroom observations, interviews with chief epidemiologists and teachers, and detailed logs of student work. The first pilot test revealed needed revisions of procedures and teacher preparation, which were made before subsequent testing. Differences in students' pre and post surveys showed a statistically significant increase in content knowledge. Additionally, students reported that they enjoyed participating in the experience and it increased confidence in their abilities necessary to purse a health-related career.

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