iPad Getting Popular in Schools

A report in July about the issue of iPad’s by Stanford school of Medicine to all the new entering students got a great stack of attention. The story of the article alone had tens of thousands visitors.

Recently, Stanford medical school spotlighted that how students are using the iPad’s. The frequency of using them, the capabilities of the textbook and the certainty of how the applications are being used is highlighted. A preliminary data has also been collected by the school which estimates the number of students out of 91 of them who received the iPad’s, is actually using them or not even bothered of them.

The instructional technology manager of the medical school, Brian Tobin, said that the students are making their usage of iPad customized, depending on the way it helps them to read or study. He also stated that every student is making out their own thing. Some are studying on it very well while some still find laptops are their best option to read. Some use paper still while some others use all three mixed. Tobin also stated that the students are being boosted to go paperless. This pushing is to make students go with e-books rather than the traditional text books and to take over the traditional note making procedures by making notes electronically. The students in the school are encouraged to use the iPad’s in the anatomy (cadaver) lab, for seeing anatomy to pathology slides.

As reviewed in the past, the iPad has inserted “i- Annotate”, which is a popular annotation application, for note-taking on each iPad. Highlighting tools and drawing tools in the application are helpful for students in gross anatomy. They are using this application for traditional note taking too.

Some primary data shows that 68 students out of 91 are using iPad solely for note taking. Among others, eight of them are exclusively using their laptops, another eight are going with traditional pencil and paper handwriting while the remaining are using a mix of all these three for note taking. On the whole, no student has replaced their own traditional study tools with iPad alone.

Not many of the medical textbooks and references are available electronically. The medical school hopes that this will alter when more medical textbooks go available digitally. One of the leading publishers among medical textbooks, Mc Graw Hill, has partnerships in place already with the developers of e- book for the iPad. A greater requirement in medical texts, hopefully, can only alleviate the conversion of these medical texts.

The news data regarding usage of iPad by these medical students, where about 70% of them are using the device exclusive for note taking, it is welcoming to educators who have a thought of implementation a like program in their graduate schools and under graduate universities. This also shows the technical competency, which is relatively at a high level, of the medical school class, about which educators should make a note of this ‘Twitter’ and ‘Facebook’ generation.

The school will be conducting regular surveys about the usage of the iPad’s by their students, as the year progresses.

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