The use of mobile technologies in medical education is now widespread and our medical students need to be equipped with skills to take advantage of this. It is only as they use and explore new digital devices, online resources and wireless networks and communication that they can find new ways to innovate and exploit its potential. Whilst we can learn from successful mobile device projects from other institutions, we need to establish our own understanding of how they can benefit our students’ learning.
This mobile project seeks to invite up to 20 medical students from our South Bristol Academy and 10 from our Gloucestershire Academy to help us understand the role of mobile learning within our own local contexts.
We don’t want to prescribe how or where students should use the devices but we do want to understand the things that work well just as much as what are the barriers to the use of these digital devices and how they should be used professionally, particularly within clinical settings.
How will it work?
We would like to work with around 20 medical students based in our South Bristol Academy and 10 in our Gloucestershire Academy during their LiTHE (and year 3 clinical) placement. We would provide a choice of Apple (iOS) or Android devices for the students to use for the rest of their UG programme if they fully participate in the project for at least the first year. If they choose to participate using their own device, they can use it for the project and use the equivalent cost of a device for alternative resources to support their study.
The students would, in their own time, keep a diary of what they are doing, one or 2 entries per week on how use their devices and any other resources connected e.g. an App. There will be project meetings every so often to share experiences with their peers, TEL team and Academy staff and to discuss and develop other opportunities to get involved with small projects e.g. around the use of l-log.
The project will run for at least a year but we hope will continue in some form until the students graduate at the end of their fifth year.
Once ethics approval has been granted, we would like to use this project for qualitative research into how our medical students use and adopt mobile devices to support their work and study across multiple learning environments, both formal and informal, clinical and study spaces, in and outside the hospital and at their accommodation. The students would be co-researchers, working with the Academy’s clinical teaching staff and the faculty’s TEL team,
The scope of the project will be explored, discussed and agreed with all of the participants, fully engaged, to produce reliable and authentic and rich research data.
Future use of mobile learning at Bristol Medical School
This is an important project for our programme as it should give us valuable insights and data into the use of mobile devices in teaching and learning. However, there are no immediate plans to provide devices to students beyond this small-scale project – this is a learning exercise for all of us!