For as valuable as texting, tweeting and social networking are culturally, these functions represent only a fraction of mobile technology functionality. iPhones, iPads, Android phones, and other smart devices offer unprecedented value as educational and professional development tools that enhance traditional classroom instruction, complement clinical training, and expand research beyond the library walls. Online and remote activities in programs such as The NEXT DDS, platforms like Blackboard, and downloadable apps are all aspects of digital age remote learning.
There are currently more than 700 apps available for general medical education, such as Medscape, which offers physician and pharmacy directories specialty-specific medical news, or Taber’s Medical Dictionary, which contains 60,000 definitions, 1,000 images, and more than 30,000 audio pronunciations.
There are also apps designed specifically for dental students, from first year basics to final year hands-on clinic work.
While the iPhone may be the best known smartphone, there is an array of smartphones on the market that offer advanced functionality that can make it easy to use educational apps, online resources, and other remote learning tools. Android phones are becoming increasingly popular. The HTC EVO, billed as the first 4G phone inAmerica, offers the fastest speeds available for downloading material and overall functionality. The EVO and the Motorola Droid X turn into roaming hotspots for other devices, such as a student’s laptop. The Droid X also offers up to 40GB of storage.
The new Windows Phone 7 smartphones, which include the HTC HD 7, Samsung Focus, and the LG Quantum are individualized communication devices that accommodate a student’s particular educational needs.
User-friendly slate devices such as the iPad, HP Slate, and ExoPC Windows 7 are becoming increasing popular among students. These devices are perfect for reading, browsing the web and organizing materials.
With smart phones becoming ubiquitous, college programs are incorporating more remote education tools into their curricula. For dental students, resources such as THE NEXT DDS offer access to articles, procedures, reports, study aids, and information on traditional, new and/or experimental clinical procedures. And, of course, smart devices also allow students to communicate with each other and with their instructors.
While academic class and clinical instruction will always be an aspect of dental school, utilizing digital technology to expand student learning opportunities will produced the most knowledgeable and highest-quality dentists possible.
*Adapted with permission from Kathleen Tracy, Writer. Los Angeles, CA