January 30, 2012

How to use an iPad 2 to teach handheld nursing applications

I have been a long time advocate of using handheld computers as a reference resource during nursing clinical all the way back to the days of the Palm computer. Ever since then one of the most difficult tasks has been how to teach using the software with students. The difficulty is that it is hard to display to a group what is appearing on a small screen such as an Apple iPod Touch.

The original iPad released in 2010 had some video out capability but it was limited by the software. Developers needed to add code to software to let it be displayed, and very few did. The iPad 2 eliminated this restriction by providing a mirror display capability. In a mirror display whatever you see on the iPad will also be displayed on the external monitor. Unfortunately, there are still some considerations for nursing faculty hoping to show their students software in operation.

The iPad 2 mirror display requires a HDMI-capable monitor, an iPod-to-HDMI adapter (called the Apple Digital AV Adapter), and a HDMI cable. The adapter is available in the Apple Store and HDMI cables are easy to find, but many nursing programs do not yet have HDMI-capable displays.

Apple Digital AV Adapter

Most computer monitors and LCD projectors that are now ubiquitous in classrooms do not have HDMI capability. HDMI creates a digital "handshake" between the monitor and the device to limit copying. It is on every flat screen screen television sold in the last few years.

For nursing faculty this means we must push for the acquisition of HDMI-capable displays. They are a good investment as we migrate to high-definition instructional videos using Blu-Ray players it will be useful more than just handheld computer teaching.

When hooking up the iPad 2 to the adapter be sure to also plug in the power connector as you will run out of battery power very quickly without it. I also recommend you get a very long HDMI cable. They are available in many lengths but I suggest at least 12-foot. The most common 6-foot cords will not leave you much room to get into an area appropriate for pointing out what students will see on the monitor.

Some other tips:
• Software designed for the iPhone will display as an iPhone shaped rectangular screen. Use the 2X button to enlarge the display.

• Use the Orientation Lock next to the volume button to keep the screen from shifting from vertical to horizontal as you move the iPad.

• Have students follow along as you demonstrate a capability of the software. Then ask them to call out something they would like to do and then demonstrate that. Give students other tasks to do, such a look up a med or procedure, then see who is having difficulty. Ask a student who is able to do the task come up and demonstrate to the class.

• This advice will also work with the Apple iPhone 4S released in the summer of 2011.

Do you have any other tips or advice?


2 comments:

Florida said...

Yesterday, I attended an iPad training course at our local community college. The instructor had a pretty cool set up. He used a doc camera for one screen so we could see how to gesture on the iPad. Then the same iPad was connected to a projector and displayed the image on the wall, which was much clearer.
Here’s my question. I am a graduate student in Nursing Education. Recently, I was asked to present an overview of the iPad to the Nursing Faculty (30 minutes). Our college will provide everyone with an iPad during the presentation. Any suggestions or tips for iPad instruction to a group in such a short period of time?
And thank you for sharing your experience on this blog. I find it very helpful. Liz

Brent Thompson, PhD, RN said...

Liz:
An overhead camera is the quickest way to display content but not always the best due to glare and low resolution.

The iPad 2 and the iPhone 4S will output directly to an HDMI monitor if you get the Digital AV adapter and a HDMI cable. The problem is that many classrooms do not yet have a HD monitor. This are common in our homes now but not in nursing programs.

I will post a general post on how to present the iPad to a group. Thanks for your great question.

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