Friday, March 16, 2012

Educational Technology - Does using a "new" tool enhance learning?

We've implemented several new forms of Educational Technology in the Medical Curriculum at Tulane over the past 6 years, starting with:
  • Audio podcasts
  • Tegrity classroom recording (where audio & projected video are recorded together & posted online)
  • Audience response systems - clickers & histograms (Turningpoint)
  • Just-in-Time-Teaching & Peer Instruction
  • Team-Based-Learning (TBL)
  • Interactive web-based quizzes for self assessment
  • Wikis (to replace a text)
  • Human Patient simulation (METI) exercises
So far the only methods that seem to make a significant impact on exam performance from our experience are TBL & adding Human Patient Simulation exercises - and only by a few percentage points. It makes me believe that changing the approach to teaching (employing more active learning) makes only a small impact in our realm of education. Is this because we emphasize "memorization" (knowledge recall) too much in the medical curriculum, and one can only improve memorization to a limited extent? Active learning has made huge increases in learning in undergraduate physics - but physics is focused much more on "concepts" - a sharp contrast to the current medical curriculum. Perhaps if the USMLE Step 1 exam were to become more focused on the understanding & application of concepts, this would change?

Google Friends Connect biting the dust?

So apparently Google Friends Connect is being discontinued, although those using Blogger may still be able to use it (or so I've read on wikipedia).

I was planning on using this App to connect the students enrolled in our Educational Portfolio (ePortfolio) course next Fall. I want to have a mechanism that will facilitate their being able to read & comment on each others posts.

One alternative for networking with others involved in the ePortfolio course might be to use Google+ Reader Not quite the same thing as the Google Friends App, but it may do the job?

Developing an Educational Portfolio Course utilizing Google's Blogger

This is day one of learning how to use Google's Blogger engine for possible use as a mechanism for reflective writing in a postbac graduate course for students that wish to improve their credentials for acceptance into a US medical school. The two main features of blog posts will be reflective writing on what they are learning in our curriculum at Tulane, and what they are learning from regular participation in community service activities outside the classroom.