The iPad has led an explosion of tablets in medical education, which we have covered extensively going back to our discussion of Stanford’s iPad program for its students. At launch, they cited the ability of the platform to create opportunities for “efficient, mobile, and innovative learning.” It looks like the trend is finally making the leap across the pond.
It has recently been announced to students at Manchester Medical School that the students currently in year 4 (out of 5) will be offered Apple iPad 2s in order to assist with their studies. In their announcement, they cite three key objectives – to reduce their carbon footprint, effectively manage/access bidirectional feedback, and access e-resources from anywhere.
While the idea of medical students being offered iPads is nothing new in the USA, this is a first for UK medical schools who to date have fallen behind technologically. The only similar scheme is the final year program at the University of Leeds where students have been offered an iPhone 4 as part of their course.
The Wi-Fi only iPad 2s have been ‘loaned’ to students on clinical placement who will then be able to keep the device until they graduate. They will then have the opportunity to buy the device for a ‘very small nominal fee’. There is a big push by the University to make sure Wi-Fi is accessible to all the students at each of the 20 hospital placements that students are likely to be in. In addition, the Medical School is developing its own proprietary apps designed to support learning with these devices.
This is a big moment for UK medical schools who will look to this trial as an example for themselves. This scheme is expected to be launched by mid-December at the latest. Medical schools in the US have had significant successes integrating iPads into their curriculum and it will be interesting to see how the Manchester students fare with their new devices.
The application of tablets, with iPads leading the way, is a major trend in medical education. Check out some of iMedicalApps coverage of other institutions and their programs here.