Monday, March 8, 2010

Should medical schools require an iPad?

We've heard of several medical schools requiring students to use either an Apple iPhone or iPod touch, but what about the iPad? Some schools have been experimenting with digital e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle. Medical textbooks are frequently filled with photos and other color-rich images, so the grayscale Kindle isn't the ideal e-book reader for medical students who wish to carry their textbooks electronically. This is where the Apple iPad could revolutionize the way medical students learn.

Will some medical schools try to educate their students using digital technology? I'm sure it's bound to happen. What I don't know is whether the iPad will improve the way students learn medicine. Since I'm a technology advocate, I could make several compelling arguments to say that interactive learning is much more effective than traditional lectures and didactic education. I could also say that retention could be enhanced with the use of digital quizzes that occur at the point-of-learning. You can't do that with a text book, but you could do that with a digital version. I could argue that multimedia enhances the educational experience compared to static color images. But all these arguments could fail if students are not ready and willing to embrace technology to enhance their education.

The average pre-med college student is probably tech-savvy and digitally connected via a smartphone, several social media accounts, and a laptop computer. If you hand that student an iPad filled with medical textbooks and multimedia resources, will that student learn effectively? I would think so.

1 comment:

  1. There is a large gap between what many HOPE the iPad will do and what it actually CAN do. Tablet PCs have been on the market for many years and promised many of the same things. The limiting factor has been (and most likely will continue to be) software.

    I've listed another 10 reasons the current iPad will not be significantly deployed in healthcare if you have the time.