Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2014
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Edheads: Trauma

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Realistic, information-packed ER sim promotes critical thinking

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • College & Career Prep

Subjects
  • Science
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
9-12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (2 Reviews)

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Pros: Accurate diagnostic tools, medical vocabulary, and a realistic story line engage and empower kids to learn about ER medicine.

Cons: Text-heavy at times, the game doesn't always provide enough guidance for analyzing data.

Bottom Line: Kids will get an engaging, realistic experience, but unless they have prior experience with medical terminology, they'll likely need additional learning support. Resources on the developer's website help.

Edheads: Trauma is an excellent tool for kids who are studying biology or want to enter the medical field. Teachers could use it as part of a human anatomy or general biology course. A great place to start is the teacher's guide on the developer's website. Review the glossary terms with kids before they use the app. The activity would work well as a teacher-led lesson or as a small-group activity. If kids work in small groups, pause after each section (such as Introduction, Emergency Room 1, and so on) and discuss the results of the patient assessments. Be sure students use the worksheets provided so they can more easily follow the learning process and review their work as needed. 

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Edheads: Trauma is an animated story that teaches kids how to stabilize and diagnose patients who've been admitted to the emergency room. One patient, for example, has passed out behind the wheel of a car, and several tests are required to determine why. The main characters, an ER doctor and a pharmacist, introduce kids to the emergency room and incoming patients. Kids then work through various stages of testing and analyze the data to determine each patient's condition. For example, kids assess a patient's neurological condition using a Glasgow Coma Scale. The ER doctor does an awful lot of talking as she explains various tests. A voice-to-text feature at the bottom of the screen can help kids follow along, but some tappable glossary terms and explanations embedded directly into the app could help ease kids into the terminology. Note that some content might not be appropriate for younger kids: A patient dies as a result of a drug overdose and is suspected of having an addiction. 

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Students can learn quite a bit of medical terminology as well as how to assess a patient by examining physical condition and conducting diagnostic tests. The scenario is realistic, engaging, and highly interactive. The app promotes critical thinking skills as kids analyze data and reach conclusions about each patient's condition. Kids assess and rate a patient's physical responses, examine X-rays for potential problems, and analyze blood and urine. As they work through each part of the exam, kids tap to answer questions and locate issues on X-rays, while receiving hints and detailed instructions from the ER doctor. More feedback could help when kids get off-track, especially with the X-rays, which can be difficult to analyze. Since kids get a tremendous amount of information, some background knowledge about medical terminology and tests would be very beneficial. 

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Story line is realistic and interesting, and kids will like analyzing X-rays and patient symptoms. The game is quite text-heavy at times. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Students work step by step to solve medical problems, which promotes critical thinking skills. They get a lot of information at once, which can be overwhelming. A glossary of medical terms is available on the developer's website. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Teacher's guide and glossary are excellent classroom supplements. Access to more direct hints and feedback within the app would add a lot to the learning experience. 


Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Linda W. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Wareham Middle School
Wareham, MA
Yoi become part of the trauma team and help make decisions that support the care of an accicdent victim.

As a teaching tool using EdHeads Trauma could be very powerful and lead to some much needed discussions. I liked the organization of the simulation, the worksheets and the type of information offered. I think that the classroom teacher will need to do a lot of pre-teaching of vocabulary and set the stage for the simulation before beginning. I am concerned about just how real it seemed to the students and those not exposed to death may have some difficulty dealing with the fatality in the simulation. As an adult I can definitely understand the value of discussions with students about drugs, driving, and death - but I would be very careful and inform parents before proceeding with this simulation. Can students learn a lot of good content from EdHeads Trauma, definitely, but setting the stage with pre-teaching of concepts and vocabulary in order for students

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