FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) – Allied health students at Florence-Darlington Technical College have been learning about how blood is typed and what happens during incompatible blood transfusions, thanks to Biology instructor Ken Malachowsky, who recently received a patent for his 3D printed educational model.
Malachowsky noticed during his years of instructing Anatomy and Physiology that students typically memorized without truly understanding which blood types were compatible in proper or improper blood transfusions.
In an effort to find a solution to the issue, Malachowsky attended a Human and Physiology conference in 2013 on Process Oriented Guided Learning Inquiry and began formulating a plan for creating a new learning tool that would help students actually understand blood types instead of simply memorizing notes.
“We know that learning occurs better when doing something, as opposed to just listening or reading,” Malachowsky said. “I applied that notion to blood transfusions to have the students actually make different blood types and see what happens when compatible and incompatible blood types are mixed together.”
Malachowsky conducted research and developed the idea of visually showing students what they were being taught. In July of 2017, Malachowsky filed for a patent for his model, and this past December, he was awarded Patent No. 10,510,269.
Several trials of his design that resembled the shapes of red blood cells and antibodies were printed using a 3D-printer. The individual pieces of the 3D printed materials are color coordinated and can be pieced together, much like a LEGO set. This allows students to construct different blood types and visually determine what types of red blood cells are in a given blood type. The concept illustrates types of allowable antibodies that would be in the blood as well.
“I am thrilled to have developed a novel learning tool that can help allied health students understand the difficult topics of blood transfusion and blood typing,” Malachowsky said.
Malachowsky is now in the process of reaching out to manufacturers and having his patented learning tool mass produced and sold to educators around the world.