From an article in TechNewsWorld:

To get a better feel for the effects of e-textbooks on student productivity, the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine’s Health Sciences launched an iPad pilot program and study.

With the aid of a US$10,000 Technology Improvement Express Award grant from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region, Hofstra set out to determine the effectiveness of the iPad and apps as a tool for medical education.

The grant paid for 10 iPads and cases, along with textbook, productivity and medical applications. Ten out of the 40 first-year medical students and 10 out of approximately 30 faculty members involved in the Winter/Spring term received the devices.

In-person training and a support website were provided by the library staff. Some of the apps loaded on the iPads included textbooks not currently available via library subscriptions on various platforms; specific information-retrieval apps such as Pubmed on Tap, Micromedex and DynaMed; patient education apps; and a patient log app such as Drchrono, which served the students as a transportable Electronic Health Record.

“Students were eager to use iPad functionality as a collaborative tool in their case-based and self-directed learning, critical pathways in our integrated curriculum,” Debra Rand associate dean and director for health sciences libraries, told TechNewsWorld. “This grant-funded pilot study provided us with usage trends and the opportunity to obtain significant real-time feedback from students and faculty that will guide us in our future planning.”

How iPad Scored

The results of the 12-week pilot study were overwhelmingly positive from students and faculty alike. Students and faculty listed the iPad’s top strengths as portability, ease of accessing materials, and the note-taking and annotation capabilities. The top weaknesses noted by study participants were a “difficult to use” onscreen keyboard and the inability to use Flash content. Further, participants noted that the vendor feature allowing the purchase of chapters rather than an entire textbook was not useful.

More details in the article.  Thanks to Michael von Glahn for the link.


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