E-book helps pupils switch on to organ donation
Transplant recipient meets with pupils using new resource to learn.
Scottish secondary pupils will be able to learn about the issues surrounding organ donation on their classroom tablets from today.
Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson visited Castlebrae High School in Edinburgh to launch an e-book of the Organ Donation Teaching Resource Pack, and met with pupils using the resource on their school iPads.
With tablet use increasing in classrooms, the e-book has been developed as an educational tool to enable young people to be able to make informed choices about organ donation and transplantation.
The e-book features videos of the real life stories of three families who have been affected by organ donation, a transplant surgeon, an intensive care consultant and a specialist nurse for organ donation who works with hospital staff and donor families.
Originally developed in 2010, the pack is now widely used in subjects across the curriculum, from biology and maths, to modern studies and religious and moral education.
Transplant recipient Rory Mair, who received a life-saving liver transplant in 2012, joined the Minister to chat to pupils about how organ donation transformed his life.
Mr Mair, from Rosemarkie in the Highlands, was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis in 2009 and due to the rapid progression of his illness, was placed on the transplant list last year.
Since receiving his transplant in July 2012 at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Rory has been able to return to living a healthy and active lifestyle, and feels incredibly grateful for the selfless decision made by his donor which saved his life.
Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson said:
“This e-book is an important tool in helping secondary pupils learn about organ donation.
“In Scotland, children over 12 who are able to make their own decisions can give permission for their organs or tissue to be donated by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register. Therefore it’s vital that pupils have an awareness of the issues surrounding organ donation to ensure they can make an informed choice.
“We recognise that organ donation is a challenging subject to teach, but since the education resource was first launched, it has been met with positive feedback from teachers and pupils alike. We hope the e-book resource enables schools to continue to help pupils debate the crucial role organ donation plays in today’s society.”
Rory Mair said: “For me and my family, organ donation has been nothing short of a miracle.
“I know that someone sadly had to die for me to live and I’m incredibly grateful. For the family to have been able to say yes to organ donation at what must have been the worst time of their lives is both amazingly brave and amazingly generous.
“What I hope my story shows is the life-changing difference that organ donation can make. I am the living embodiment of how it works well and I would urge others to think about joining the NHS Organ Donor Register today and making sure their loved ones know their wishes.”
Derek Curran, headteacher at Castlebrae High School said:
“Organ donation is a key part of the school’s personal and social education programme, and we’re delighted that pupils at Castlebrae have been first to try this new e-book resource.
“All pupils in the school have had access to iPads since September and the devices have been fully integrated into the curriculum, being used across subjects including art, music and PE.
“I’m sure meeting with Rory today and watching the videos of the families touched by organ donation will help highlight to pupils just how important organ donation is to those waiting on life-saving transplants.”
An independent evaluation of the pack showed that 98 per cent of teachers who have used the pack say it is relevant and engaging for students, while 88 per cent of pupils recognised the importance of organ donation and would recommend its continued use in schools.
The ebook provides teachers with lesson plans and resources covering the science behind transplants and organ donation. It also covers the medical issues which can lead to the need for a transplant, transplant laws, including the impact of opting out legislation, and information on ethical and religious debates.