A JOURNEY THROUGH
When I started medical school, we came to class armed with a printout of the lecture slides and multicolored pens to take notes. No one had tablets and only a few chose to lug their heavy laptops to class. It didn't help that our wifi was patchy and slower than molasses...
Fast forward a decade - wifi is ubiquitous and most students have at least a smartphone, if not a tablet and/or laptop. These devices have become essential for reviewing lectures and other study material, taking notes, and taking advantage of a broad range of apps, podcasts, and other online resources.
With so many products on the market, it's hard to know what to choose. Watch below as four current medical students discuss their opinions on some of the more popular options.
*Educators, take note! How can we optimize our presentations and materials to align with the technology our students are using?
We'd love to hear from you! Was this helpful? What do you use? Leave your thoughts and feedback in the comments.
Medical education is changing. OK, yes, it's always changing. But I think we're approaching a major paradigm shift. As more programs adopt flipped classroom models and embrace the use of FOAM, where does that leave our current pre-clinical educators?
The traditional med ed model relies on professors to be the experts, imparting their knowledge to students through lectures and textbooks (often written by these same professors). I mean no disrespect to these educators, who are undoubtedly brilliant in their respective fields. Many have even mastered the art of the 50 minute lecture, providing engaging talks and visuals. But as medical practice is changing, so must education.
First of all, the sheer volume of information has increased drastically. It is impossible for today's students to fully comprehend and retain all of the material placed in front of them. More importantly, with easy access to apps and online references that are constantly updated, one could argue we shouldn't be teaching students to retain obscure bits of knowledge, but rather, how to seek out, synthesize, and apply the best information.
Secondly, continued medical advancements coupled with rapid sharing of information makes life-long learning essential. Students need to learn to actively seek out and participate in their own education. These skills are integral to a successful medical career. Standard lectures and textbooks may contain all of the relevant information (and more), but often don't engage students as well as some of the newer methods. Problem based learning (PBL), team based learning (TBL), and the flipped classroom are promising modalities for medical education, but need to be more widely implemented.
And then there is FOAM. Free open access meducation. Clinicians (especially those less tech savvy) are slowly embracing it. Students can't get enough of it. They are on blogs, social media, apps and quiz sites - some that they even have to pay for. We, as educators, need to be able to direct learners to the best content. And here is where the biggest shift occurs. Professors need to step away from writing lectures and become curators of information. For example, a flipped classroom course might require students to watch videos or complete modules on their own, and then participate in a team based learning or hands on session during class time. The key is that the pre-class materials need not be created by the professor - why reinvent the wheel when there is so much good stuff out there?
Of course, this is all new and controversial, and actively evolving. It is challenging to ask educators who have learned and taught one way for their entire career, to adopt a completely new model, especially one that relies less on their scientific knowledge and more on their teaching abilities. It may take a great deal more effort to create a flipped classroom session than to write a lecture in your area of expertise. Finding and selecting appropriate FOAM resources can be time consuming, as well. And then there is the issue is pride and prestige. How do educators set themselves apart when they are using materials created by another professor, often at another institution? And what if their strength lies in their knowledge of their area of expertise rather than in employing innovative education?
There are no easy answers and this movement will encounter may challenges. Those of us who want to be catalysts for change will have to work on breaking down barriers for current educators and facilitating a dialogue with students. We need to ask ourselves, what is in the best interest of our students? Students who are learning and practicing in our evolving, interconnected, technological world.
By Sarah Medeiros
For an excellent graphic explanation of where med ed is going, please check out this presentation on Revolutionizing Education in Medicine, by the great Michelle Lin.
The average person in the United States now spends 2 hours per day on social media - or 30 days per year. Millenials spend even more; some up to 9 hours per day! Why on earth would we not hijack some of that time for education?! We must be at least as smart as the marketers of Silicon Valley. We need to find ways to reach students where they are, because many spend more time on social media than in the classroom.
Our students are already out there, getting news and advice, sharing ideas, and learning from online medical resources. It seems irresponsible of us - educators who have made it our life's work to teach the next generation of medical providers - to not help guide students to the best resources, integrate the vast array of knowledge on the web, demonstrate responsible use, and help build knowledge in a way that meets our core competencies. Social media is a powerful tool. It has the potential to crowd source information and filter the best resources. It's a forum for innovative ideas and creating new social connections students would not have made otherwise. It facilitates instruction on multiple different platforms, and drives student engagement in learning higher than ever before. FOAM continues to explode, with more students discovering it every day. But what resources are they using? How did they find them? Is anyone content letting Google decide?
If we want to guide and nurture this already exploding area of medical education, we should develop expectations, goals, and objectives, and strategies to meet them. A barrier we too often face is the failure of medical education leadership to recognize the importance of social media and FOAM. These are unlikely to be on their priority list and dedicated time in the "real curriculum" is tough to come by. How do we direct students to good resources, show them how to get what they need from FOAM, or teach responsible social media practices, when there is no time allotted to do so? Word of mouth? Email? The class Facebook page? For us, it is all of the above, and more. But we do not have the clear answer here. We need to hear your thoughts!
Developing your institutional goals and objectives comes first. Linking your student body in the next step. But how best to link is up in the air. Twitter? Slack? Facebook? This blog could be one platform! We communicate with our students via email and Facebook. We've started a student interest group for technology in medical education to engage students and develop new ideas. We are introducing a lecture/workshop series covering a wide range of topics related to tech in med ed. We hope to connect everyone via Twitter, as well as a platform like Slack, where topics can be discussed safely, resources shared, and education pushed forward.
It is an exciting time in medical education and we are ready to join the movement. Now to just get buy in from leadership and the rest of the faculty...
By Mike Schick
I guess it's best to start by being honest. I'm not a natural "techy". I grew up with rotary phones, sent my first email in high school, and didn't get a cell phone until after college <gasp!>. So why is someone like me so fascinated by technology? Because I've caught a glimpse of what it can do for medical education.
Learner Engagement. Remember trying to stay awake while a professor prattled on in front of text-filled blue slides? Or reading a textbook passage over and over because your mind kept wandering off to more interesting places? It doesn't have to be that way. Around the time I was in medical school, the Med Ed world started to change. Blogs popped up. And podcasts. And YouTube videos. And so much more! It was like The Wizard of Oz - we'd been living in black and white, and, suddenly, a technicolor world opened up with dazzling new ways to learn.
FOAM. Free Open Access Meducation. If you haven't heard of this yet, head over to your favorite Social Media site at type in "#FOAMed". You'll find the latest tutorials, pearls, quizzes, graphics, and research, laid out on a virtual platter for your consumption. New content is being created, added, and refined every minute. Indeed, the biggest challenge may be sifting through to find the best material. Luckily, many educators have taken on the role of curator to do just that. It's exciting and fresh - and it's free!
Global collaboration. Medical education now extends far beyond your classroom, hospital, or institution. The conversation is global. Through social media, students and educators from all over the world connect to share content and ideas. We can discuss our shared passion with people we otherwise may never have known.
And this is really just the tip of the iceberg. If you're a doctor, nurse, PA, dentist, paramedic, pharmacist, professor, student, or anyone else interested in progressive medical education, I hope you'll join me on this adventure to explore the world of technology in med ed. It's about TiME.
By Sarah Medeiros