Journal Article
. 2020 Nov; 1260:75-107.
doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-47483-6_5.

From Scope to Screen: The Evolution of Histology Education

Jamie A Chapman 1 Lisa M J Lee 2 Nathan T Swailes 3 
  • PMID: 33211308
  •     205 References


Histology, the branch of anatomy also known as microscopic anatomy, is the study of the structure and function of the body's tissues. To gain an understanding of the tissues of the body is to learn the foundational underpinnings of anatomy and achieve a deeper, more intimate insight into how the body is constructed, functions, and undergoes pathological change. Histology, therefore, is an integral element of basic science education within today's medical curricula. Its development as a discipline is inextricably linked to the evolution of the technology that allows us to visualize it. This chapter takes us on the journey through the past, present, and future of histology and its education; from technologies grounded in ancient understanding and control of the properties of light, to the ingenuity of crafting glass lenses that led to the construction of the first microscopes; traversing the second revolution in histology through the development of modern histological techniques and methods of digital and virtual microscopy, which allows learners to visualize histology anywhere, at any time; to the future of histology that allows flexible self-directed learning through social media, live-streaming, and virtual reality as a result of the powerful smart technologies we all carry around in our pockets. But, is our continuous pursuit of technological advancement projecting us towards a dystopian world where machines with artificial intelligence learn how to read histological slides and diagnose the diseases in the very humans that built them?

Keywords: History of histology; Modern medical education; Social media (SoMe); Technology-enhanced instruction; Virtual microscopy.

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