It’s all in the palm of your hand: Mobile technology to improve medical education

Participants will:
1) Appreciate the utility of tablets as a tool for engagement learning
2) Explore many inexpensive and easy-to-use apps and platforms for medical education
3) Learn how to teach with tablets in a variety of busy medical education settings (clinics, hospitals, classrooms)
4) Discuss best practices for using tablets and apps in medical education and curriculum design

Technology has revolutionized the practice of medicine, though we rarely incorporate the use of that technology into the instruction of medicine. Instead we rely on the same antiquated educational modalities we have used for decades. As a result, neither our learners nor our current faculty have ever been taught how to make technology work for them and not against them. This workshop will demonstrate practical, high-yield, easy-to-implement ways to use mobile technology, specifically tablets, for medical education.


Dr. Hobbs has been using tablets, specifically the iPad mini, to educate medical students at the University of North Carolina since 2014. His goal is to deliver on the promise of mobile technology to change the way we educate our learners. Participants in this hands-on, practical workshop will explore many useful apps and platforms to teach learners of all levels, disciplines, and learning styles and in a variety of settings. We will also discuss some of the educational theory and best practices that render the tablet a powerful tool when teaching with either just-in-time learning, distance learning, or even to improve engagement in the classroom.

Much of the time will be spent in active demonstrations of teaching with specific apps and platforms. With busy clinics and busy hospital rounds the norm, many of these teaching demonstrations will focus on educational content that is engaging, easy to prepare, rapid to deliver, and high-yield. Some examples include teaching bedside exam, promotion of patient-doctor communication, and using just-in-time learning to prepare students for their next patient. For those that teach in larger group settings, we will discuss ways to “flip” the classroom and make lectures more interactive.

Discussion will also cover some best practices for using mobile technology to engage different types of learners, particularly millennials and introverts. Some examples include social media case-based learning at a distance, creation of “game show” style mini-didactics, and self-study aids.

Finally, Dr. Hobbs will demonstrate how tablets can be at the center of purposeful curriculum design and will very briefly discuss the logistics of setup and maintenance required for anyone interested in a similar design. There will also be time for participants to use tablets (provided by the presenter) to practice what they have seen demonstrated. A worksheet will also allow for participant reflection and commitment to how they may integrate mobile technology at their own institutions.


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