PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

A group of valley science teachers got an opportunity Tuesday to learn about the advanced technology at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs.
   
The tour was all part of "Project Prototype," a program with the ultimate goal of taking what teachers learn back to the classroom.

The program is state funded by the California Department of Education and organized by the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership's workforce excellence team.

"Because once you reach out to teachers and get them out of their classrooms to see what's available in the communities, the radiating impact of that, if you calculate that each teacher approximately sees 125 to 200 students per day, that's a good leverage of dollars," said Donna Sturgeon, Director of Work Based Learning at CVEP.

Philip Hudec teaches in the Palm Springs Unified School District. He joined the group of 30 teachers to learn in-depth about the hospital's advanced technology used to treat patients.

"There's a lot of technologies that we did not know existed," said Hurdec, "It's incredible we've advanced so far and to be able to talk about that with our students and inspire them, I think it would be a great opportunity for us."

Teachers say they're excited to learn about what could potentially prepare local students for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. It will allow them to come up with new classroom projects and studies.

They even got hands-on experience testing the hospital's surgical robot "Da Vinci" which allows doctors to remotely operate on patients with minimal incisions.

"I think this is a wonderful way for teachers to experience what surgeons utilize and how tough it can be." said Rich Ramhoff, Director of Marketing at Desert Regional Medical Center, "These are procedures that we really want to inspire the youth to take on the responsibility in the future to come back to the Coachella Valley, to work at Desert Regional Medical Center and be our next batch of physicians, doctors, respiratory therapists, and other technologists."

"Project Protoype" will be offered again over the next two summers.