The introduction of the iPad has heralded a new era of mobile computing which some medical schools have adopted. Universities such as Yale, Stanford, UC Irvine, and a number of others have all embraced the iPad as the primary source of medical teaching.
The trend has recently crossed the Atlantic as well as the first UK-based medical school launched an iPad program as well. It now seems that there is proof that students equipped with iPads perform better than their paper based peers.
This is the conclusion reached by the ACU Connected mobile learning program at Abilene Christian University. This group has spent over three years collecting data related to the use of mobile technology amongst students and specifically, the advantages of student mobility with this new generation of devices. ACU is announcing the study results for its iPad program which are universally positive.
TUAW previewed these results and noted that in one study, students who annotated text on their iPads scored 25% higher on questions regarding information transfer than their paper-based peers. In a separate project covering iPad usage patterns, two researchers studying ACU’s first all-digital class discovered that the iPad promotes “learning moments” and helps students make more efficient use of their time. Grad students working in an online program reported a 95% satisfaction rate for online iPad-based coursework.
With this research indicating that iPads benefit learning, how long is it before other medical schools come under pressure to adapt and offer iPads to their students? Will those medical schools who have yet to adopt an iPad based curriculum feel that their students may ‘fall behind’ when compared to their peers from other iPad-offering universities? Apple recently reported that total downloads of its iTunes U initiative, which offers print, audio and video downloads of school courses and lectures, have topped 600 million. One thing is certain, those students equipped with an iPad certainly appear to be at an advantage.