Dr. Carmen Balgobin, Principal of Mollie Ray Elementary School inspired a partnership with Dr. James “Butch” Rosser, a general surgeon from Florida Hospital in Celebration, Florida. Dr. Rosser developed an innovative training curriculum that is meant to close the performance gap that students have with scientific investigations on the Florida standardized tests. Dr. Rosser’s program uses a validated pedagogy of instruction called Stealth Learning. Stealth Learning uses validated pop culture icons like rap music, cinema, video games and drones to speed knowledge and skill transfer. The impact is amazing.
Dr. Rosser’s technique has been applied to the most difficult of surgical procedures and his approach has been documented to decrease training times from 350 hours to 12 hours. It has been applied to other verticals including the business, the military and general education. In 2010, he was awarded the Governor’s Award for Education in the state of Mississippi.
It is all because his Stealth pedagogy is based on brain based learning. With this approach, brain cells in the cerebellum are mobilized that are never used and neurotransmitters like dopamine are released in increased quantities to rapidly establish new neural pathways and solidify them. Dr. Rosser’s book Playin’ to Win: A Scientist, Surgeon and Parent Examines the Upside of Video Games chronicles the scientific journey that discovered this technique. Dr. Rod Paige, former Secretary of Education, stated, “Stealth Learning may the most significant advance in education approaches in the last 300 years”.
Dr. Rosser and the Stealth Learning Company are provided seven sessions of STEM activity to 5th grade students in order to raise their interest and scores in this area. He and his Stealth team led by Dr. Neesha Patel have converted the scientific investigations curriculum into the Stealth Learning format. Students will have knowledge transfer assisted with music videos that have all of their academic landmarks embedded. The program has a significant mentoring feature as students work side by side with a practicing surgeon, medical students and pre med university students. They have the opportunity to practice on the training equipment for laparoscopic surgery, improving their critical thinking and dexterity skills while facilitating teamwork among the groups.
Throughout these sessions, students received exposure to the framework for investigations and repeated trials. The goal of this program is to provide engaging learning opportunities in science where less privileged students will be more inclined to pursue careers in STEM and perform better on the standardized testing for scientific investigations. These students are also afforded engineering and aviation skill building opportunities with the unique drone exposure. With the success of this initial experience, it could serve as a program that could impact the Orange County, Florida district, the state and the nation.