The University of Leeds is issuing Smartphones to all fourth and fifth year medical students, giving them access to progress files, assessment modules, and educational materials whenever and wherever they might be.
This is the first time that a UK medical school has provided undergraduates with all the tools they need to study off-campus via mobile phone technology.
Under the pioneering scheme, 520 medical students will be loaned an iPhone 3GS 16GB for the remainder of their course. At this stage of the Leeds medical degree, undergraduates typically spend much of their time in local NHS hospitals, GP surgeries and community health clinics. They can find it difficult to keep in regular contact with tutors and have to carry around any reference manuals or record books that they might need during their work placement.
Both of these problems will now be resolved. The Smartphones will be pre-loaded with a range of dedicated ‘apps’ that will let students record notes on interesting cases whilst still on the wards, and test their knowledge of procedures or protocols they have just observed. Copies of key medical textbooks such as titles from the Oxford Handbook series and reference works such as the BNF (British National Formulary), which includes up-to-date guidelines on administering prescription drugs, will also be distributed as iPhone apps. A range of other relevant medical apps that can be downloaded free-of-charge or purchased will be provided too.
The package includes unlimited mobile broadband connectivity from O2, so that students can keep in regular contact with their University tutors via email. The phone and text function will be available on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Use in Teaching
During Year 4 and 5 medical students spend their time working in a practice environment. This work-based practice is a key part of the MBChB curriculum and students gain practical experience in a “near bedside” environment. They work at a high level as part of clinical teams preparing to transition into clinical practice as new junior doctors. They spend 80% of their time in clinical practice.
During this time they are developing personal skills such as communication, teamwork and ethical practice whilst practising and achieving the professional skills outlined in General Medical Council’s Tomorrows Doctors 2009.
The University of Leeds is providing mobile tools in the form of iPhone Apps that allow students to reflect on their experiences, record evidence of conditions that they have observed and record the treatment that was given. The students also undertake a series of formative assessments (such as Mini-CEX) with clinical and healthcare professionals that help both them and their University tutors chart their progress through a particular clinical rotation.
Providing access to published content is an important aspect of mobile learning for the medical students. We are providing two editions of the Oxford Handbook series (Clinical Medicine and Clinical Specialties) and the BNF (British National Formulary).
We are also encouraging students to seek out, develop and evaluate resources and content. In many cases they are ahead of us sourcing content and finding
These iPhone Apps integrate with the student’s progress file (an e-portfolio application). This acts as a repository of information about development for both students and teachers.
Technology Enhanced Learning Manager
Leeds Institute of Medical Education (LIME)