THE NEXTDDS Blog

Your D1 Survival Guide: Part 1--Note Taking and Adjusting to Dental School

Posted by Abby Halpern on Sat, Jan 30, 2016 @ 12:16 PM

Meet AbbyStarting dental school can be challenging for some first-year students, as you are faced with new terminology and a wealth information right out of the gate. You have to get acclimated to having endless hours of lectures each day, you don’t yet know how to succeed in the sim lab, and clinic is off in the distance. Well, I’m here to help.


As a D2 at the Dental College of Georgia, I’ve had some of those same questions. But with a little perseverance and helpful hints from more experienced students, I was able to get my footing. In this series, I’m going to tackle a few important issues and share some insight to help YOU through the process, too.

Q: What is the most effective way to take notes?

A: Dental students have various methods for studying and retaining information, and the key is to determine what regimen works best for you. As a second-year student, I’ve tried a whole bunch of methods and I tend to have particular methods for particular classes. For example, in my anatomy courses, I like to condense PowerPoint presentations by handwriting (in the tiniest of print) and drawing pictures that fill up a single page of computer paper per lecture. In these types of courses, understanding the relationship between things and visualizing the constituent parts is what I needed to focus on.

Recently, I started using an iPad to take notes during lectures using the Notability app. I’ve loved the organization this allows me, and I honestly think I’m more focused in class because of it. I’m more apt to flip through slides when the interface is so convenient. Other apps beneficial to my classmates include Evernote and GoogleDocs, and I’d encourage you to experiment with one or two others to see how they handle images, revisions, and your particular learning style.

Additionally, my classmates and I will often re-listen to lectures through software that our school provides. This method allows us to solidify information or ensure that we haven’t missed any key points during a fast-paced lecture. It’s also well suited for auditory learners.

Speaking of speed, you can also fast forward these lectures and get through material in half of the time if you need a refresher session. Do not get bogged down in wondering you if you are taking notes and studying the “right” way because there is no single correct way to accomplish this. My suggestion would be to attempt a method you think will be advantageous and to stick with what provides you with the greatest success.


Q: “How does dental school compare to undergrad?”

A: This is a great question because we, as dental students, are the type of people that want to know exactly what we are getting ourselves into. It’s a lot like that forever comparison, or lack thereof, between apples and oranges: for sure, they are both fruits and they have seeds, but beyond those aspects, they are totally different entities.
To be honest, and this may disappoint some of you, I do not think that your undergraduate degree is the most important factor in preparing you for dental school. The experiences you have inside the dental office and outside its confines give you a better understanding of the practitioner you want to be and thus the dedication and motivation you will adhere to during dental school in order to achieve these goals…but I could probably write a whole separate article on that topic.

I will say that your peers in dental school are so much more than just classmates. The bonds you make, the conversations you enjoy, and the realizations you have that these will be your future colleagues are all amazing experiences.

In opposition, the workload is no pleasant surprise. The hours of studying, preparing, and lab work are as rough as you’ve heard. So many people told me of the long hours; I reasoned with myself that I wouldn’t have the same exhaustive days. I’ve never been so quick to eat my words before. Most school days begin at 8am and end at 5pm. It can be difficult to stay focused for so many hours of lectures, especially at the beginning when your brain is used to maybe 3 to 4 hours of PowerPoint presentations per day as an undergrad. This rigor takes some getting used to, but your passion for this profession, along with those new relationships, help you push through. Dental school is incredibly different from your undergraduate education, and while this may seem daunting and scary at times, these differences are what make dental school such an impactful experience—the experience that will prepare you for the rest of you professional life.

I hope this helped give you an idea of what dental school really is like. In Part 2 of the series, we will cover how to keep your motivation and stamina over the four years of dental school as well as what to expect in your first patient experience. Stay tuned, and I welcome any questions you have!

 

Need more help acclimating to your first year in dental school? THE NEXTDDS has a host of instructional resources and step-by-step technique guides available to support you. Enroll today--it's FREE!

Tags: education, dental education, student, dental, studying, D1

Soldier through your dental school education debt free with the help of the military

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Wed, Nov 11, 2015 @ 12:00 PM

Air Force Captain Matthew Lee, DDS.Imagine completing dental school, diploma in hand, and striding right into a new job with a decent salary, no startup costs, and NO loan debt. You are probably scratching your head thinking, “Is this a dream or reality?”

For Air Force Captain Matthew Lee, DDS, it was both a dream and reality. As a graduate of the DDS class of 2014 at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry, he paid for dental school with a four-year Air Force scholarship. Accepted into dental school on December 1, 2010, he heard he received the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) just a few months later in February.

“When I was younger I thought about being a pilot or astronaut. It had always been in the back of my mind,” explained Lee. While in college, he heard about HPSP, and figured it was a way not to become buried in student loan debt while pursuing his career.

For Lee, joining the Air Force was a great way to get a dental school education. After four years, “If I want to stay, I can. If I want to leave, I can,” says Lee. “It’s a nice, relaxing way to continue to learn,” says Lee, and in a couple years, he can make an educated decision on whether he will stay in military service.

There is also a place in the military for dental school graduates as Federally Employed Dental Professionals. You can attain a broader spectrum of experience faster with cutting-edge technologies that may not be available in every private practice. Plus, there are many opportunities for continuing education in specialty fields.

HPSP can be an especially enticing idea for first-year students that have just started dental school and see their loan debt building, explained Lee.  They can apply to receive a scholarship for the last three years of school.

Generally, each student is commissioned as an officer in the Medical Service Corps and placed on inactive, obligated Reserve status during the course of their studies. This arrangement takes a huge financial worry off students’ minds and allows them to dedicate time for learning.  “I didn’t have a uniform until I graduated and headed to officer training,” says Lee.

What’s the catch? Through the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and U.S. Navy, these scholarships are offered for one-, two-, three-, and four-year terms. (There is no program offered by the U.S. Marine Corps, since it receives medical services from the U.S. Navy.).

In exchange for the scholarship, your commitment to your chosen military branch is to serve as an active-duty member with a year-for-year repayment, with a minimum obligation of three years. While each military branch may propose slightly different terms, the concept is the same: you receive up to a four-year scholarship paying for dental school tuition, expenses, and a cost-of-living stipend. Your tour of duty begins after you complete any internship and residency training requirements for your career field.

Following that path, Lee is continuing his schooling in an Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) residency. Considered de rigor for Air Force dental recruits, AEGD is a one-year (optional two-year) program to enhance a graduate’s skills and knowledge base and usually take place in a clinical setting.

“With AEGD, you get exposed to every specialty. It's not like a traditional dental school educational environment, but more of a ‘learn by doing’ situation,” he explained. “I did quite a few IV sedations, third molar and periodontal surgeries, as well as far more root canals than in dental school. I also became fairly proficient in cuspal coverage amalgam,” says Lee. You find out what it would be like to practice oral surgery, prosthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, and orthodontics by working with specialists from other bases, he adds.  

Students and dental school graduates considering starting their career in the military should weigh the pros and cons to figure out what might work best for them as individuals. If you want to be making millions when you finish dental school (that IS a dream, by the way), you might be disappointed with a military salary.

If dealing with insurance company red tape worries you, as a military dentist you’re able to give each patient the care they need without worrying about their ability to pay. If the idea of graduating dental school and jumping directly into private practice overwhelms you, then starting in the military may be a good way to build confidence and your clinical experience. Taking the private practice route may involve hefty startup costs, managing employees, building a patient base, and maintaining enough profit to pay off student loans.

If interested in reading more about Dr. Lee’s adventures as a dentist in the U.S. Air Force, follow his blog at http://usafdds.blogspot.com/

Tags: dental education, student loan, loan financing, dentistry in the military, paying for dental school

Professor's Perspective: Dr. David Dunning on Digital Engagement

Posted by Christina Ferraro on Fri, Feb 06, 2015 @ 05:04 PM

Advisory Board Dunning
UNMC Logo      
David G. Dunning, M.A., Ph.D.
Professor, Dept. of Oral Biology

What digital or online tools do you use in the classroom or clinical setting?

Dental management simulation (www.dentalsimulations.com)

 

How often do you assign students material that requires online research?

During the management simulation, weekly in that semester. Students also complete on-line courses in motivational interviewing and practice management at dentalcare.com.

 

Does this generation of students present any unique challenges to educators?

In an electronic age, attention spans can be challenging to engage and maintain.

 

What do you find to be the most difficult dental concept to teach? 

Dental insurance and practice valuations are both very complicated and involve many concepts, students are often unfamiliar with these concepts.

 

What digital adjunct materials do you find most useful for students, and for what lessons do you use them?

--Supplemental videos for the management simulation.

--Posted supplemental materials on THNEXTDDS and Blackboard.

--On-line course modules.

These options allow students to grasp concepts and learn at least to some degree at their own pace.

Tags: classroom, education, digital, dental education, technology, dental, elearning, educator

The Tree of Peace Installed at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Posted by Christina Ferraro on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 @ 04:13 PM

A symbol of the holistic, of the lush and bountiful, of knowledge, of youth and old age—a tree stands and bends and sheds and buds. It represents the steady strength and unwavering nature of a peace that is integrated among and across a culture. And so, on the school’s 150th anniversary, Harvard University erected on June 16, 2014 a bronze tree to represent the partnership of medical and dental education and its enduring dream of peace in the global community.

describe the image

 

Pictured: Mr. Steve Kess, Mr. Gerard Meuchner, and Mr. Stanley Bergman of Henry Schein, Inc., artist Ms. Hedva Ser, and Dr. Adam Stabholtz (Former Dean, Hadassah School of Dental Medicine), Dr. Jack Dillenberg (Dean, Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health), Dr. Walter Guralnick, Dr. Bruce Donoff (Dean, Harvard School of Dental Medicine), Dr. Marc Rothman (Chairman, Alpha Omega Foundation), and assembled dignitaries.

 

Created by sculptor Hedva Ser, the Tree of Peace is dedicated to Dr. Bruce Donoff, Dean and Distinguished Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and Dr. Walter C. Guralnick, Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Emeritus. Dr. Donoff and Dr. Guralnick are commemorated in this meaningful manner for their contributions to dentistry and to Harvard University School of Dental Medicine. 

The Tree of Peace installment was made possible by the charitable partnership between the Harvard Dental Alumni Association, Harvard Odontological Society, Alpha Omega Boston Alumni and Student Chapters, Alpha Omega Foundation of the United States and Henry Schein Cares. In addition, the Tree of Peace is the symbol of philanthropy for the Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity. The Tree of Peace is also currently displayed at the Hebrew University’s Hadassah campus and Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, AT Still University in Mesa, Arizona, and Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The partnership between Harvard and Alpha Omega in this initiative to celebrate Dr. Donoff’s and Dr. Guralnick’s dedication and commitment to the dental sciences is just one small part of a greater enterprise of giving. Social responsibility is seen on a larger scale in efforts such as Alpha Omega’s Global Oral Health Initiative (GOHI) and Henry Schein Cares, which advance dental medicine by providing global access to care for at-risk and underserved populations. The installments of the Tree of Peace on these dental campuses should remind their students of the responsibility bestowed upon them as future clinicians and global citizens.

Tags: education, dental education, Harvard, underserved, fraternity, Henry Schein, Alpha Omega, philanthropy, Tree of Peace, global

Electronic Learning: Serving the Needs of All Learners and Educators

Posted by John Papa on Thu, Jul 25, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

Different Types of Learners

What kind of learner are you? This might seem a strange question to some, but any of you who have taken an education course as an undergrad, have parents or relatives in the educational field, or can recall a professor explaining or utilizing different methods of teaching may recall the four broad categories of learners. For a quick refresher, they are as follows:

  • Visual – Those who learn best by seeing things in action. These types of learners respond well to diagrams, slideshows, and instructional videos.
  • Auditory – Those who learn best by hearing. These people are more suited for lectures or presentations.
  • Kinesthetic – Those who learn by doing and “hands-on” activities. These people are well suited for displays and examples.
  • Dynamic – Those who tend to figure things out by themselves, and learn through experimentation, collaboration, and self-guided research.1

Different types of learners

At times, traditional education can leave some of these individuals out in the cold, as it tends to lean more heavily toward auditory learners. However, through the growth and expansion of eLearning outlets in recent years, all types of students and individuals can learn about virtually any topic of interest to them in any way that they prefer.

Research also suggests that eLearning improves information retention. As Karen Jones, at 23-year veteran in the field of eLearning, and Director of eLearning for the Bryant Consulting Group tells her clients, “Technology-based solutions allow more room for individual differences in learning styles. Whereas the average content retention rate for an instructor-led class is only 58%, the more intensive eLearning experience enhances the retention rate by 25-60%.”2,3

 

The Evolution of eLearning

Over the past several years, eLearning has evolved through the use of information technology from an afterthought, to an accredited and often relied upon method of education. The advantages of eLearning are numerous, and begin with the delivery methods that are availed to online learners; methods that can suit any of the four types of learners.

As is the case with any educational environment, the right curriculum makes for the right kind of learning. A hallmark of a good e-curriculum is the ability for an instructor to adapt the same material in different ways for different kinds of learners. For instance, providing optional links or slide shows for visual learners, while allowing auditory learners to listen in a podcast-style, audio-only format. Educators can also accommodate kinesthetic learners with optional examples or interactive pieces, and allow students to work through material at their own pace alone, or in a group, without funneling everyone through the same rigid formats and lessons.4

The internet offers a wide array of multimedia options for visual and auditory learners, as well as the possibility of interactivity and simulations within a lesson for kinesthetically inclined learners. There exists the possibility to bookmark pages and track results, allowing learners to progress at their own pace. Additionally there are message boards that allow for large-scale group collaboration, as well as experts or moderators available to regulate the exchange of valuable information among community members. The problem is that not all of the information found on the web is equally credible, and the main challenge in eLearning today lies in the learner’s ability to locate credible, accurate information. This potential roadblock eliminated entirely when browsing peer-reviewed, content such that you would find on THE NEXT DDS.

 

The Value of eLearning

While you may not yet be able to obtain a dental degree online, that does not mean that eLearning cannot offer valuable resources for you as a dental student. THE NEXT DDS is a credible source of education that both compliments and enhances your classroom and clinical experiences. Maybe you’re a visual learner, who will get more out of watching a video of a Class II restoration being performed than you would out of reading about how the procedure is performed, or hearing it in a lecture. Or maybe you’re more of interactive or dynamic learner, who likes to bounce ideas off of others while working. For these learners, THE NEXT DDS has built in chat, messaging, and social features that allow you to stay connected to your classmates 24/7.

Of course, for many, the true value of eLearning comes (as it so often does) from the most rudimentary bottom line questions: how much does it cost/what value am I getting for my monetary/time investment? The widespread availability and financial flexibility are what make eLearning so appealing to such a wide audience.

Access to THE NEXT DDS is available completely free for dental students, so there is no need to worry about expiration dates, deadlines, or budgeting. Dental faculty and students alike can use this resource to compliment and enhance their curriculum, and to help maintain an educational focus even when students are not in the classroom. THE NEXT DDS has built a readily available, expansive library of scientifically sound, peer-reviewed information in a multitude of formats that accommodate all four types of learning styles. All you need to do is log in!

Log into THENEXTDDS!

 

References:

  1. Schultz, J. E-Learning Solutions Accelerate Learning for All Types of Learners. AESeducation. March 12, 2012. Available at: http://blog.aeseducation.com/2012/03/e-learning-solutions-accelerates-learning-for-all-types-of-learners/. Accessed July 24, 2013.
  2. Jones, K. The Advantages of ELearning. TheTrainingWorld. June 15, 2007. Available at: http://thetrainingworld.com/articles/elearningadvantages.htm. Accessed July 24, 2013.
  3. Jack E. Bowsher, "Revolutionizing Workforce Performance: A Systems Approach to Mastery," 1998; D. Peoples, Presentations Plus, 1992; Training Magazine, 19
  4. Smith, A. The Rich Value of Online Learning – An Online Educator’s Perspective. Elearningindustry. March 29, 2013. Available at: http://elearningindustry.com/the-rich-value-of-online-learning-an-online-educator-perspective. Accessed July 24, 2013.

Tags: classroom, dental education, electronic, visual, kinesthetic, dynamic, elearning, online, instruction, auditory

The Importance of Peer Review in Dental Education

Posted by Richard Groves on Tue, Jun 11, 2013 @ 09:55 PM

Since inception, THE NEXT DDS has used peer review to ensure that articles, instructional videos, podcasts, etc. shared with you meet appropriate quality standards.  It’s the single-most important difference between THE NEXT DDS and the blogs, wikis, and other online resources availed to you as skilled Internet users. This peer-review process is essential not only to your instructors and your understanding of fundamental concepts in dentistry, but your future patients as well.

dental educationManuscripts that we secure or those submitted to THE NEXT DDS undergo immediate review of their appropriateness for you, our voracious audience of aspiring dental professionals.  Submissions that fit our goal of excellence in adjunct education are subsequently reviewed by Academic Advisory Board members with specialized expertise in the field. These reviewers gauge the submitted text, script, or images according to several criteria that include technical/scientific accuracy, composition, clinical relevance, clinical competency, and quality of the figures.  In this endeavor, the Academic Advisory Board members are committed to helping you prepare for milestones in your university training as well as supporting you with the competency to meet the oral healthcare needs of the public after graduation.

Our goal is to publish and post instructional materials to address our broad educational mission, mirroring as possible the pedagogy to which you are exposed throughout your classroom and clinic training.  Some manuscripts satisfy the necessary standards upon their initial submission; yet others meet appropriate quality standards as a result of our “progressive” peer review—wherein our Board helps mentor the submitting author to achieve the desired educational outcome.  Whether adding appropriate visuals, noting current research that should be included, or sharing helpful guidance on the focus and structure of the presentation, we appreciate all the Board does to improve the integrity of each submission and enhance the understanding of our growing audience.

This progressive peer review and the mentoring process foster collaboration between the Board and the submitting author, but more importantly, ensure THE NEXT DDS delivers quality materials to you.  Our target is well-supported dental education, and the progressive peer review ensures that each submission achieves this goal.

Tags: dental education, review

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