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Digital Education team blog


Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team


Eye eye! 👀

By Janina Dewitz, on 20 April 2021

People often ask me: what happens after #LearnHack? – And often I don’t quite know how to answer this question. So much of what happens with the projects depends on the enthusiasm and stamina of the project teams. Some find funding to develop their ideas further, either through Change Makers or through departmental support. Often projects disappear in the ether of the university and I only find out by complete chance that a project or collaboration is still going years later!

The last #LearnHack, while a bit strange, has had the major benefit that online chatter is easier to continue after the event and keep up with, and so I checked in with Marcus Pedersen a few days ago to see what happened with his AR Eye Model project proposal. Here is what happened:

1. What did you do/what happened?

Remote education has become increasingly popular over the last year due to the ongoing pandemic. This inspired me to think about how we could educate patients and students about the anatomy of the eye and certain eye diseases. From here I set about sourcing some funding to build an Augmented Reality app. After successfully applying for a grant, I then set about developing content for the education app. Firstly, I needed a model eye that could be used as part of the AR environment. Secondly, I needed to develop content on the eye diseases we were going to highlight. Thirdly, I needed to think how I could make this accessible to all.

These three key aspects were supported by attending the Hackathon where I pitched my idea and interested parties then got involved. Ideas that came from the new advisory board then set up after the hackathon allowed for fresh ideas (as well as some well needed editing my spelling as never been great).

Once the group was set up, I could get to work on developing the content.

2. Who has been involved?

I outsourced the app development so I could focus on developing the accessible nature of the app. I contacted the service director at Moorfields Eye Hospital and asked them to write a script on Age Related Macular Degeneation (AMD), glaucoma and uveitis. From here I then found fellows at the hospital to help translate the material. The fellows come from all over the world so I knew we would be able to help many more patients than usual. I then edited these videos including some animation. For AMD we were able to create 33 multilingual introductory videos.

3. Was this in reaction to an issue or request? How did this come about?

The app came about from some research I conducted on remote education. Knowing that post pandemic aspects of remote medical care would continue I thought I could further bolster patients learning from home. Students studying the eye could also use the app to refresh their understanding of the eye as well as learn about the key eye diseases.

4. Why did you take this approach? Was there anything novel in your approach?

I decided to use an App as part of a larger project that includes other modalities of educating patients, careers and family members about eye diseases and the anatomy of the eye. There is nothing novel about using AR in education as it has been around for a while

however, I am interested to see the feedback form those with sight impairment and their ability to interact with the app.

5. What next?

Collect feedback from the audience and develop the app for future patient education. Expand the list of eye disease’s so we can assist more people all over the world.


Have you got a #LearnHack story? Let us know in the comments below.👇

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