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?


January 20, 2012

Apple's Education Initiative and Nursing Education

Apple's Education Event announced yesterday brings some exciting opportunities to nursing educators. The event introduced three new things:

iTunes U: A course management system that works through iTunes. It lets faculty manage courses and post content.
iBooks 2: The next generation of iBooks for the iOS devices (iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad). It adds new navigation, highlighting, interactivity, study cards, tap word glossary.
iBooks Author: Mac software that enables educators to write their own interactive textbooks.

The addition of iBooks Author has the greatest potential effect for nursing faculty. Imagine writing and publishing your own textbook that your students can download directly to an iPad. Self-publishing has not been a big factor in nursing academia but the advent of e-books is stimulating a change. I can foresee faculty creating their own books that will illustrate important concepts in nursing using video, audio, and links to Internet resources.

This new option also creates new questions about student purchases of technology and e-books, who owns the book, and who gets paid for the work. I recommend you view the Apple video and see where you think nursing education can go with this.

January 16, 2012

NLN Webinar on Curricula Implications of Informatics and Social Networking

Here's a blatant advertisement for an upcoming webinar series by the NLN called Curricula Implications: Informatics and Social Networking. This is a three-part series on teaching electronic health records, integrating informatics into the curriculum, and the implications of social networking in nursing education.
A webinar is a one-hour audio/video conference you watch from any computer connected to the Internet. There is a question and answer period at the end. This webinar consists of three one-hour sessions held on Monday afternoons in February.
I am going to be teaching part of the session on the curricular implications of social networking. I hope you can join in.

January 9, 2012

4 Technology Issues for Nursing Educators in 2012

As we begin a new year nursing educators face many challenges. What are some of the technology issues of interest to all those who teach nurses?

  • Need to incorporate electronic health records (EHR) into the curriculum. Documentation has long been taught but faculty now need to address how EHRs affect assessment and evaluation of patients.  Additionally, students are entering clinical sites with a need to quickly adapt to various EHRs. Faculty must consider how to teach the principles of EHRs.
  • Need to assure access to EHRs by students and faculty. In the past, no hospital would think to deny student access to the patient charts but with the advent of EHRs some hospitals are now doing that. Nursing administrators or staff development people who are faculty liaisons must understand that they must push back when an IT person declines student access to an EHR. Faculty must be clear about learning needs, how they fit the mission of the hospital, and that IT should not be in charge of nursing education.
  • Need to plan how social media fits into your nursing program. While nursing students are heavily involved with Facebook and Twitter, how many nursing faculty even understand what they are? Remember when e-mail arrived and some faculty struggled to change the way they communicated? That is happening again with social networking. Nursing programs will need clear guidelines on how to use these media for external marketing and internal communication.
  • Need to evaluate your nursing program's use of technology to enhance learning. Technologies that have strong pedagogical advantages are available to faculty at lower cost and are easier to use. Make 2012 the year you investigate how to use Wikis, Blogs, Podcasts, Photo sharing, and Social networking.