Thursday, January 13, 2011

UC Irvine Brings iPads into the Medical Classroom

Author: Brittany Chan

Upon entering medical school, the lucky students in UC Irvine's class of 2014 all received iPads to use as learning tools in their educational journey. This new program, called the iMedEd Initiative, aims to engage students in interactive learning via downloadable lectures, e-textbooks, podcasts, and of course, medical apps. The iMedEd website includes a blog where interested students at UC Irvine can post reviews about various apps they have used. The curriculum also integrates other technological advancements such as digital stethoscopes and portable ultrasound units.

As a medical student, I see this as a step in the right direction, and I predict that many other medical schools will adopt similar programs in the near future. The practice of medicine has become increasingly more digitalized, and these programs encourage students to embrace available technology in their field as a tool for learning and improving patient care. I also think that this will make studying more enjoyable and productive for many students, especially those who already love playing with electronic gadgets.

This sure has been true for me! I wish I had been handed an iPad when I started medical school. Though I originally purchased mine for entertainment, I have been using it all year as a note-taking and study tool. Several of my classmates have approached me about how I use my iPad in class. I no longer have to take my hefty laptop to school all the time, and I can make flashcards and quiz myself on them quickly without having to carry around stacks of index cards. I will be taking the USMLE Step 1 this summer and I anticipate that the iPad will be tremendously helpful in studying for the exam.

What do you think about mainstreaming the use of iPads and other electronic devices in the medical classroom? Is it a good idea, or would money be better spent on something else?

You can learn more about UC Irvine's iMedEd Initiative Program here.

About the author:

Brittany Chan is a second-year medical student at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas.  She is also a candidate for an MBA in Health Organization Management from the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University.  Originally from the Houston area, she graduated summa cum laude with degrees in psychology and general studies from Texas Tech University in 2009.  In addition to blogging, Brittany enjoys reading, crafts, and spending time with family and friends.

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