March 25, 2010

5 Must Haves for Apple iPad Nursing e-books

With release of the Apple iPad around the corner there have yet been any announcements about the availability of nursing texts. The iPad has great potential as a replacement for paper textbooks, but iPad nursing texts need to be more than electronic versions of the old. Here are some features that publishers need to include to make e-reader books better learning tools for nursing students:
1. Hypertext within the book. Keywords and links to other portions of the text would enable the reader to jump around the book and find the other relevant sections with ease. For example, in a section on care of a patient in a cast could link to another section on neurovascular assessment. Additionally, every word in the index should link to the respective section.

2. Large images. Currently, images in textbooks are limited in size due to space limitations. E-Books have no space limitations. Images should be enlargeable to the size of the e-reader screen. This would allow students to get much better images to study. Thinks of the detail for skin conditions, retinas, or cell images.

3. Embedded video. Textbooks have been limited to still images, until now. Procedures, communication examples, or animated processes should be embedded within the text.

4. Relevant Internet Links. While recent texts have included websites, e-books can actually link to those sites. The Apple iPad has Wi-Fi or, in some models, 3G network access. Nursing students should be able to instantly visit any sites listed. Links could also go to data that changes frequently such as daily morbidity statistics.

5. Embedded audio. Like images and video there are also sounds such as lung, heart, and bowel sounds that could be included. Additionally, image great lecturers including audio to help students learn difficult subjects.

It is time for nursing publishers, and nurse authors, to begin to think "outside the covers". What other things do you think nursing e-books should have?

8 comments:

Centennial College said...
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KBetts said...

I think that adding an NCLEX practice question and test taking strategies section would be beneficial.

Carrie said...

I am wondering if amyone has published any research on the topics surrounding the use of these devices in nursing education? Such as improving student success or satisfaction. Or about the use by faculty for instruction or observation, or evaluation. If anyone is aware of any data out there please forward info to me @ carrie.ford@ wellstar.org. Thanks so much carrie

StaciD said...

I am wondering what everyone thinks about the cost of this. First, one definitely needs an iPad, and then you need to get the necessary e-books. This is an additional expense that some students are having trouble with. I would love to know about ways to help my students with this issue of cost. Thank you!

Brent Thompson, PhD, RN said...

@StaciD:
The concern of cost of technology has been perpetual in education. I remember in the 1980s when it was argued that it would too expensive for students just to have access to personal computers. Now we expect all students to come with their own.

If the technology is valuable then the expense will be incorporated into the cost of education. Good education is not cheap, nor should it be. A tablet such as the iPad will give students the ability to carry all their textbooks with them into any setting. Steve Jobs refers to the iPad as the Post-PC. He is right. I find the iPad is a great media-delivery device. Educators teach through media so anything that facilitates delivery is welcome.

To help students with the cost some schools are bundling the texts with the devices so that school loans and grants can be applied. Also, as they become more common students can also find used and refurbished models at a significant discount.

StaciD said...

Hi Brent,

I appreciate the value of the iPod, and its convenience. However, I still have a few students whose families cannot afford to have a computer in their home, let alone buy an iPod. I would think that as the popularity and usage of e-books spreads, iPod prices will most likely drop due to competition. However, like any new form of technology, the early models tend to be difficult to afford, especially in this economic climate.

robin said...

I agree with the points made by Staci regarding cost. Brent's comment that affording technology has long been an issue in education is also valid but smacks of elitism. The cost of an education should not be so prohibitive that it limits those attaining it. Scholarships and grants can assist the individual with limited funds but realistically, how many students apply and how many receive these monies? Yes, eventually the cost of the iPad and etexts will come down and in the future they may be the norm. Until then, what can the educator do to meet the needs of the student with limited resources?

pat said...

Being able to add the NCLEX-RN prep book work is a must. Now the students can practice their questions while they are in down time such as at lab, clinical or on break from class. This also provides an avenue for small group work which provides an advantage of many different views.

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