FDTC professor patents blood typing educational model
Florence-Darlington Technical College Biology instructor Ken Malachowsky recently received a patent for his 3D printed educational model aimed to teach allied health students how blood is typed and what happens during incompatible blood transfusions.
Throughout his years of instructing anatomy and physiology, Malachowsky noticed 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 better understand blood types while in the classroom.
“We know that learning occurs better when doing something as opposed to just listening or reading,” said Malachowsky. “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.”
Once Malachowsky conducted his research and developed the idea of visually showing the students what they were being taught, he reached out to the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology and began working with the team on a prototype of the classroom materials.
The SiMT 3D printed several iterations of the design that resembled the shapes of red blood cells and antibodies. The individual pieces of the 3D printed materials are color coordinated and can be pieced together, much like a LEGO set. This concept allows students to construct various blood types and visually determine what types of red blood cells constitute a given blood type. The concept illustrates types of allowable antibodies that would be in the blood as well. Students in Malachowsky’s Biology 211 class are currently being taught with this model.
In July of 2017, Malachowsky filed for the patent, and this past December, he was awarded Patent No. 10,510,269.
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.
The chief executive officer of 3D Learning Solutions, Malachowsky is originally from the Bronx borough of New York City, but he has been living in Florence since 2001. He earned his master’s degree in biotechnology from the University of Tennessee. He received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University. Malachowsky has taught at FDTC since the spring of 2001. He earned Faculty of the Year in 2015.