March 28, 2011

3 Reasons Nurse Educators should require iPads and iPod Touch devices

A commenter to an older post just asked a very good question about the cost of incorporating devices such as an Apple iPad into nursing education. So is it a good idea to add an additional expense to nursing education by requiring the use of a handheld device such as an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad? This is a question I hear a lot when speaking about the advantages of these technologies. Here is why I think it is worth it to have students use these technologies today:

1. They change the way students learn and apply information. Traditionally students learned nursing by buying textbooks, listening to lectures, and taking a multiple-choice exam. Moving to a handheld delivery system is not just making books available in electronic form. The change brings a change to the way students learn. In the classroom the teacher can move from presenting facts to giving lessons on how to apply knowledge. There is too much information to know it all but knowing how to find and use information quickly is really what nurses need to do in the 21st Century.

2. They provide a media delivery device directly to the student. Currently most students have to go to a library or a computer lab to view media that contribute to their learning. For example, to learn a procedure students once had to view a film strip or 16 mm film, later they watched a video tape or DVD. With a handheld device the video can be viewed wherever the student is. Right now there are nursing programs developing mini-videos of procedures that students can review just before going into a client's room.

3. They help faculty use proven pedagogies to improve learning. Educators have known for years that multi-media enhances learning. Steve Jobs calls the iPad a "post-PC" device. It gives students the ability to have audio, video, web-based apps, and clinical apps all in one device. This means that it is more than just a portable media delivery system but a whole new way to teach students how to use information p.r.n.

March 3, 2011

Apple iPad 2 Digital AV Adapter biggest advance for educators

The announcement of the iPad 2 brought improvements in speed and weight and adds cameras. Those are great but lost in most accounts is the biggest feature for nurse educators, the ability to display apps on an external display. Apple is now offering a Digital AV Adapter for $39. On the iPad 2 this adapter creates a mirror output of the iPad's screen on a flat screen TV that has HDMI. This is a huge step for educators because now all apps can be shown to a classroom in real time on a real iOS device. Nurse educators can teach how to use clinical software in a way never before possible. Up until now only applications with the external-output code could be displayed. Faculty can now walk students through the options of their clinical applications.

Apple Digital AV Adapter

This adapter is not just for the new iPad. It will work with the iPod Touch 4th generation, the iPhone 4, and the original iPad (in 720p not 1080i).

Some caveats: The mirroring capability will only work with the new iPad 2. It is not yet clear what can be displayed on the other devices (my guess is just software with the external-output code). You will also need either an HDMI display or a way to convert your HDMI signal to DVI or VGA. DVI, which is used by most modern computer monitors can be displayed with a simple converter/adapter. To use VGA, which most projection LCDs use, requires an additional adapter such as the one available from HP. The reason for the HDMI requirement is due to the ability of HDMI to retain copy protection for videos.

Apple is promoting the iPad as a tool for educators at all levels. The AV adapter will really help nurse educators teach students how to use any of the hundreds of healthcare-related apps that are available for the iPhone and iPad. The adapter should be available on March 11 in the USA.