iPad pilot helps students learn from mistakes

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By Edith Moctezuma

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Dental assisting and medical assisting students are finding that watching a video of themselves performing procedures on an iPad helps them improve.

The allied health department received 24 iPad Air this semester as part of a pilot program to determine whether students perform better using the tablets.

Usha Venkat, director of information technology, said these Wi-Fi, lightweight devices can easily access the Internet and can take students’ learning beyond the classroom.

Students have now been able to record phycomotive assignments, which require combining physical and cognitive skills.

Dental assisting sophomore Julie Litaker who has used the iPad for a coronal polishing certification, where she polished the outside of the teeth of a mannequin with a handpiece in a preventive dentistry class

She said it is easier to see what she needs to improve rather than being told in a critique. She also said recording students’ procedure assignments makes it more convenient because they can watch the video when they have more time.

After watching her video, Litaker said she was able to find mistakes, such as her hand position.

Medical assisting sophomore Deann Ferguson performed an electrocardiogram on classmate Bryanna Arnold, who pretended to be a patient, in a clinical procedures class that used the iPads.

An electrocardiogram is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of the heart.

During the procedure, students need to demonstrate their ability to explain the set of reasons for performance of a procedure to the patient; distinguish between normal and abnormal test results; and demonstrate respect for individual diversity incorporating awareness of the students’ own biases in areas including gender, race, religion, age, and economic status. This is required by the curriculum provided by the accrediting agency, Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

After students finished the procedures, they were able to immediately look at the video. “There are so many things they don’t realize until they see them,” said Hal G. Buntley, coordinator of the medical assisting program.

Buntley said teachers can critique, but that does not have the same impact as a student realizing their performance through a video.

Ferguson said the iPads have helped her learn by being able to see herself and practice.

Buntley said iPads help students see their actual performance rather than their perception of how they did. It also helps him not to interrupt. Buntley said the program might get microphones so students can hear how they talk to patients.

The program’s Advisory Committee has highlighted the need for students to develop people skills more than technical skills.

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