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Not Just for Students: Clever Ways that Teachers Can Use Instagram in the Online Classroom

In the previous article, we looked at the benefits of Instagram from the standpoint of students. This article looks at how teachers can use Instagram as a powerful teaching tool in the online classroom. The power of Instagram creates meaningful online interactions between students and teachers, keeping both parties engaged and informed.Instagram and the Online Classroom

For instructors, Instagram makes it easier than ever to post reminders and notable factoids discussed during regular class time hours. Teachers can simply upload pictures of relevant material (such as textbook chapters, learning resources, etc.) to share with their students. Teachers can also post motivational memes and other encouraging photos that will help build solid relationships with students by promoting lighthearted exchanges of everyday information. Additionally, instructors may post review reminders to encourage students to stay on-track with their homework and/or with remembering notable items that might be present on a quiz or test.

In return, students can also provide valuable content for their instructors as part of this positive exchange. For example, students might post subject-specific pictures from their own lives that illustrate concepts explored in class. Additionally, students might provide a sort of “photo essay” for instructors, which is a practical, lighthearted way for instructors to gauge student progress on an infrequent basis. A teacher can post a relevant picture, and the class can post their thoughtful reactions to this picture using certain teacher-specific guidelines.

Of course, when it concerns Instagram and the online classroom (or any classroom for that matter), it is crucial for both teachers and students to remain professional in all of their interactions. It is equally important for instructors to check with higher education administration to fully understand any guidelines regarding acceptable social media activity.

Want to learn more about how teachers can use Instagram in the online classroom? Contact us today.

Appropriate Email Etiquette in the Online Classroom

An online classroom provides a unique way to interact with your instructor and peers. You may feel comfortable enough with them to joke around, and you may even think you can address your professor more as a peer than an authority figure. However, the written word is often misunderstood, and you still are the student, not another professor.  You can run the risk of misrepresenting yourself through email and on discussion boards if you aren’t careful. Here are some tips for email etiquette in the online classroom:

Email Etiquette in the Online Classroom

  1. Always address your professor with respect: Consider your professor to be your boss, and address her with the same level of respect. NEVER address your professor by her first name unless you have received explicit permission to do so (heads up, you won’t). Use appropriate language, i.e. no slang or swear words. Your written word is the only way your instructor knows you. Make a good impression.
  2. Don’t sound angry: When you’re upset about a grade or comment your professor made, it’s natural to feel angry and defensive. Use email to your advantage though. Your professor can’t see your emotions here, so this is a chance to demonstrate your maturity and respect even in the midst of your internal anger. Instead of making accusations, ask for clarification as to why you earned the grade or comment in question. Approaching a conflict respectfully and with a congenial tone will go a long way. Remember, your words are the only way your professor knows you. Just like number 1, make a good impression through email.
  3. Never EVER make a threat: Sometimes we forget that emails are permanent. If you have a true problem with a professor, seek help from another source like your academic advisor. Your professor will take your words seriously, which can result in serious consequences for you. Don’t even joke about a threat. Just. Dont.
  4. Avoid jokes among peers: Online discussion boards are the online equivalent to a classroom discussion. The main difference is inside a classroom, everyone is participating at the same time and can understand your attitude and tone when you make a particular statement. Your peers can feed off of your instructor to determine whether or not you are being appropriate. Abide by the blanket rule to not tell jokes and you’ll be fine.
  5. Respect your professor’s time: Just because you’re up and writing a paper at 11:00 on a Tuesday night does not mean your professor is also awake and ready to answer her emails. Sending her a second message at 2 am will not make her answer your question any sooner. In fact, you may get the opposite result. Abide by the virtual office hours she has set up, and allow an appropriate amount of time to pass before re-sending her your question. A good rule of thumb is up to 24 hours on a weekday and 48 hours on a weekend, unless your professor has stated otherwise. Remember, as an online professor she is serving hundreds of students. In order to keep an appropriate work/life balance, she will have to set boundaries. Observe and respect these boundaries.

Taking online classes can be a rewarding experience, especially for students who can’t otherwise fit college classes into their schedule. Contact us if you have further questions on how to maintain an appropriate email relationship with your peers and professors.

Monitoring Blood Glucose with Contact Lenses

One of the more onerous tasks that a person with diabetes has to perform is to constantly monitor his or her blood glucose levels by pricking their fingers and applying the blood drawn to a strip. Google is working on a special pair of contact lenses that has the potential to alleviate diabetics from that burden, according to an article in WebMD. Smart contact lenses can help monitor blood glucose levels for people with diabetes.

smart contact lensesThe lenses would have a tiny wireless chip and miniature blood-sugar sensor embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material. They would measure blood glucose levels in human tears once a second and flash a warning light if levels become dangerously high. This kind of real time monitoring would prove to be a boon to people with diabetes, lifting the anxiety of missing a blood sugar spike that might prove to be dangerous.

Diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to effectively process blood glucose, leading to a buildup in the blood. This can lead to nerve and blood vessel damage, blindness, comas, and possibly death. People with diabetes, besides monitoring their blood glucose levels, must take insulin and adhere to special diets to keep the condition under control.

According to the UK Guardian, the fact that blood sugar levels can be measured through human tears has been known since the 1950s. But it has taken decades until a 2011 experiment demonstrated how a wearable sensor would work. Google is currently seeking FDA approval of the blood glucose monitoring contacts as a medical device.

For more information on the benefits of smart contact lenses for diabetic patients, as well as other technological innovations that can be incorporated into healthcare education and curriculum development, contact us.

Technology Makes Mobile Learning Possible for Nurses in Understaffed Hospitals

Mobile learning is changing the landscape of nursing education. Handheld devices are helping nurses provide safer patient care as they are being trained in the classroom, clinic, and laboratory settings. Safer patient care means less chance of medical error, less chance of surgical complications, and a potentially shorter length of stay in the hospital due to an expedited recovery time.

Smartphone nurse

The results of a study by the American Journal of Infection Control showed that over a third of nurses report they are feeling burnt out by their profession. Nurse burnout is caused by inadequate hospital staffing due to a shortage of skilled nurses. Mobile technology underscores online learning and traditional classroom training by allowing nurses to use handheld devices to quickly access the information they need.

This optimizes patient care, minimizes stress, and reduces the likelihood of burnout.

According to an article in the Huffington Post, “Advanced nursing education is empowering nurses to lead the way. More and more aspects of the profession are electronic…mobile devices, electronic medical records, cloud computing, and teleconferencing — invite nurses to be digitally ambitious.”

Nursing Classroom Abilities Increase

Mobile technology helps nursing students analyze critical information. Using mobile platforms, nurses can address simulated patient scenarios to reinforce the lessons learned from actual case studies. Mobile technology provides a wealth of nursing information in seconds.

Preventing Medical Errors

Using smartphones, IPods, and iPads reduces the likelihood of medication errors. Mobile technology helps nursing students immediately access information on safe dosages, drug interactions, and medication compatibility. With mobile technology,
nurses do not have to locate pharmaceutical references or contact a pharmacist for dosage and medication information. The information that they need is right at their fingertips.

Increased Engagement

Research shows that nurses become more engaged in the learning process when their training includes handheld devices.

According to an article in AdvanceWeb, “Kent State University College of Nursing undergraduates use seven mobile
references to develop conceptual care maps on clinical patients…Students ‘map out’ their patient assessment data, history, medications, lab values and treatments prior to documenting the reasons for each medication and lab value deviation and developing a patient-centered plan of care.”

Additionally, course textbook availability no longer becomes an issue. Mobile technology provides the most up-to-date information, and nursing students can immediately incorporate this information into the classroom.

Cost Effective

The software for smartphones and tablets is much less expensive than the cost of medical books, and nursing students can use the software to complete assignments throughout the course.

If you would like to know more about mobile learning for nurses in understaffed hospitals, we can help. Contact us today to learn more.