Evaluation of a 3-D interactive tooth atlas by dental students in dental anatomy and endodontics courses

Edward F. Wright, William D. Hendricson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Advances in information and communication technology continually offer innovations to assist faculty in their efforts to help students learn new information or develop new skills. However, faculty members are often hesitant to incorporate these innovations into their courses out of fear that these new methods may not provide the anticipated outcomes. Hence, students are often the subjects of educational trials to evaluate curriculum innovations by comparing a new teaching/learning method to traditional lecture-based instruction. The most typical finding is that students can learn equally well by either method. However, two questions that have not been studied extensively in dental education are whether dental students will actually use computer-based educational resources made available to them and whether students perceive these materials to provide a value-added learning experience. Accordingly, the goals of this study were to determine whether first-year dental students (D1), second-year dental students (D2), and third-year dental students (D3) would 1) use an interactive tooth atlas, available on a DVD, as a study aid and 2) perceive that the atlas provided sufficient value-added benefit for their dental anatomy (D1), preclinical laboratory endodontics (D2), and clinical endodontics (D3) courses to recommend adding it to their school's comprehensive electronic resources. A low percentage of the students (14 percent; 40/289) voluntarily downloaded the atlas from a DVD to their laptops prior to the addition of incentives in the form of atlas-related examination questions. Even after incentives were added, only 43 percent of the students (126/289) downloaded the DVD. After using the atlas, students responded to the statement "Using the 3D Interactive Tooth Atlas was beneficial for me" on a 0 to 10 scale with 0 representing strongly disagree, 5 representing unsure, and 10 representing strongly agree. The mean rankings were 5.34 for D1s, 6.79 for D2s, and 7.28 for D3s. Students also responded to the statement "The atlas should be added to our school's VitalBook" (digital library of curriculum materials). The mean rankings for this statement, using the same 0-10 scale, were 5.15 for the D1s, 6.63 for the D2s, and 7.26 for the D3s. Based upon these findings, the course directors decided not to add this atlas to the students' electronic resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-122
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010


  • Curriculum
  • DVD
  • Dental anatomy
  • Dental education
  • Information and communications technology
  • Prospective study
  • Teaching methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)


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