A tremendously interesting and probably important experiment has been taking place at the University of California, Irvine since 2010.
Since then, the university has been using iPads to improve student learning and the program is successful. Specifically, the med students that are part of the program that is using the mobile devices are getting better results, developing apps for the technology and even working to improve healthcare.
Named the “iMedEd Initiative,” all of the students enrolled in the college’s med school received iPads with their textbooks already loaded on them. According to the report, as featured on TabTimes, “The iPads offered access to lecture podcasts, patient records and recorded data from digital stethoscopes, bedside diagnostic ultrasound units and a variety of other medical devices.’”
“UC Irvine reports that students taking participating in the program scored on average 23 percent higher on their exams than previous UC Irvine medical school classes, but such has been the success of the roll-out that some students are even hoping to utilize the iPad to improve healthcare across the globe,” the site reported.
One group of medical students at the school formed the “iMedEd Innovators Group” to discuss which new technologies that could be used at the medical school, and even partnered with the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences to hold a “Med AppJam” session in the aim of building iPad apps specifically for healthcare, resulting in 19 specialized iPad healthcare apps being developed by more than 100 participants at the school in just 10 days.
Other students are now looking at how pairing the iPad with a portable ultrasound unit could improve healthcare and medical education in other countries where the technology is not so readily available.
The results of this program, however, are not unique. In fact, the site Mashable recently reported that students who use touch technology, like an iPad, in the school setting advanced more quickly than those who did not use them and pair this with the fact that there are more than 2 million tablets being used in schools – a number that will increase dramatically as the technology becomes more accessible and affordable.
Clearly, it’s time for more of us to embrace the technology like they have at UC Irvine. It’s certainly a valuable tool inside the classroom, and as many of you know, it’s a valuable solution in the practice setting as well.
As technology moves, so do we and the world as we know it. With the benefits we’re seeing here, it’s clear to see that we’ve only just begun.