Accessing Knowledge from the Bedside: Introducing the Tablet Computer to Clinical Teaching

Accessing Knowledge from the Bedside: Introducing the Tablet Computer to Clinical Teaching

Douglas Archibald (University of Ottawa, Canada), Colla J. MacDonald (University of Ottawa, Canada), Rebecca Hogue (University of Ottawa, Canada) and Jay Mercer (University of Ottawa, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2190-9.ch005
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Abstract

Tablet computers are very powerful devices that have numerous potential uses in the medical field. Already, the development community has created a wide range of applications that can be used for everything from the most basic level of medical undergraduate education to specialist care delivery. The challenge with tablet computers as a new technology is to find where they fit most effectively into healthcare. In this chapter, the authors focus on how tablets might find a role in the area of care delivery in the educational setting. Included is a discussion on the tablet computer’s place on the eLearning / mLearning spectrum, an annotated list of recommended medical applications, a description of challenges and issues when deploying the tablet computers to clinical settings, and finally a proposed pilot study that will explore the effectiveness of using a tablet computer in a clinical teaching setting. The content of this chapter can be applied to many workplace and learning settings that may find tablet computers beneficial such as businesses that require mobile communications, K-12 schools, and higher learning institutions.
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Where Does The Tablet Computer Belong?

Before the discussion of how the tablet computer can be used for medical education, it is important to define a few terms. The term eLearning is widely used but can mean different things to different people (Bullen & Janes, 2007). A common understanding of eLearning is as a form of distance education where courses are delivered over the Internet (Bullen & Janes, 2007). However, eLearning is increasingly being described as any electronically mediated learning in a digital format. Bullen and Janes presented an eLearning continuum for formal online learning that provides a useful reference when considering eLearning (see Figure 1). Although this model is an over simplification of eLearning it does lend itself well to show how mLearning can be integrated into the continuum.

Figure 1.

The Elearning continuum (Bullen & Janes, 2007)

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