The Role of Instagram for Students in the Online Classroom

instagram and the online classroomWhen people think of Instagram in the classroom they typically think of problems students have goofing off on social media and sharing pictures and video when they should be paying attention to what the teacher is talking about. When it comes to online learning and the digital classroom though, Instagram might be a useful tool instead of a useless distraction.

Instagram and the Online Classroom

For those of you not familiar with Instagram as a service, it’s a social media platform that specializes in sharing pictures and video both among Instagram users and within other social media platforms. For those whose entire classroom experience takes place over the Internet, the ability to quickly share images and video with classmates can be a necessity. Instructors may also find the video-sharing capabilities of Instagram to be beneficial for making announcements and for getting lectures into a student’s news feed.

The real power of Instagram isn’t the speed with which this media can be shared though; it’s that Instagram posts across different platforms. This means that someone can post an image or video once, and it will shoot across several different social media websites. This can be extremely useful for teachers, or for group projects when someone wants to make sure everyone sees an update, but that person doesn’t want to post and re-post the same content a dozen times.

Any technology that allows for faster, more streamlined communication across great distances is going to find a use in the online classroom. The key to Instagram is to use it to enhance the learning experience. For more information about social media and its place in the online classroom simply contact us today!

Anatomy and Physiology in the Online Classroom

Why Is It Important to Learn Anatomy and Physiology?

A very wise farmer once said, “Before you do anything, you gotta dig a hole. Then you can fill that hole with the foundation you need to build anything you choose to build.” (Wm Hugh Smith Sr.). This statement is especially true when it comes to taking an Anatomy and Physiology course online.

why it is important to learn anatomy and physiologyThink of taking an Anatomy and Physiology class as digging a hole and building a foundation for the healthcare classes that come later. Although there may be other healthcare classes that may seem like more fun, skipping an Anatomy and Physiology class can short circuit your medical knowledge and stunt your career growth in the healthcare field. This is one reason why Anatomy and Physiology classes are mandatory for all healthcare students.

Anatomy and Physiology introduces you to the basic concepts and fundamental medical terms used throughout the healthcare industry. It helps you understand how parts of the body work alone and together to keep us alive. It also shows you what these parts look like when they are healthy and unhealthy, and when something goes wrong with a certain part of the body. Think of the parts of the body as a rubber band that stretches in many different directions. If the rubber band pops, you have to understand what caused it to pop and what needs to be done to fix it.

Armed with more than just a basic understanding of the human body and the ways in which it should work, a healthcare professional can more readily identify what may be working correctly and what may be working incorrectly. It becomes much easier to spot these differences when you understand what you are seeing. Once you are able to identify the problem it becomes easier to treat.

With Anatomy and Physiology as your basic foundation, you gain a solid understanding of the human body and how it works, as well as the terminology used to describe the human body. With this level of knowledge, you won’t just be able to do your job, you will be able to do your job well because you be able to make the right decisions from a healthcare standpoint, regardless of the nature of your job in the medical field. This enhances your reputation as a healthcare professional.

Enrolling in online classes is a good way to learn the fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology because  you can schedule your study time around family and work responsibilities. Contact us for more information on the benefits of learning Anatomy and Physiology in the online classroom!

Fostering Virtual Community Enriches Healthcare e-Learning

Healthcare e-Learning can be a solitary and sometimes lonely undertaking. Helping students get to know one another, and form a community, can be beneficial during and after the class. Even if students work in the same building, they may not know each other. Taking a course together can be a bonding experience.

For some e-learners it can be particularly motivating to have a group of friends online to share insights and experiences. When the course is over, these relationships can help reinforce what was learned during the course.

Some students study together live, at scheduled times. Others go at their own pace, on their own schedule. Here are ways to build virtual communities, which address the needs of both types of learners.

healthcare e-learning

Virtual community can help make online learning more fun

Virtual Student Lounge — Having a space where people can gather informally, to discuss material or other topics, fosters community. Facebook groups and Google hangouts are popular options, as are online forums. If the technology is available, create a space within the e-learning portal.

Student Profiles — Invite students to create on-line profiles. Encourage them to include hobbies and interests, so students can discover what they share in common. Short videos, posted on YouTube, are a highly engaging ways for students to introduce themselves to the rest of the community.

Planned Group Activities — Give people a reason to gather online, to discuss a particular topic or work on a group project.

Live Activities – When students are online at the same time, there are ways to increase a sense of community. Among them:

Sidebar — Allow comments and questions during part, or all, of the presentation.

Video “Hellos” – Make time during the classes for everyone to turn on their cameras and say hello to each other.

Breakout Spaces – Where appropriate, create opportunities for small groups to gather in video chat rooms to discuss material.

Motivate Self-Paced Learners — Have regular email communication with students, even if these are automatic emails sent when students reach milestones in the course.

Other ways to make students feel they are part of a community are virtual “office hours” with teachers or knowledgeable leaders, and the opportunity to give feedback, either during the course or at the end.

Everyone’s time is limited. E-learners need to feel, first and foremost, that the course they are taking has value and will ultimately benefit their lives. Community activities associated with e-Learning should be well organized and clearly presented, so students feel these are also good uses of their time.

Avidity Medical Design specializes in the design of engaging, e-learning curriculums for health-related topics. We tailor presentations to the specific needs of our educational and corporate clients. To learn more, including ways to build online learning communities for your students, please contact us.

Brain-Computer Interfaces: What They Mean for the Future Students of Healthcare Education

Do you remember the old sci-fi movies and TV shows that we grew up with? Do you remember how you felt when you saw Luke Skywalker, William Shatner and Arnold Schwarzenegger using out of this world technology that you thought was the creation of movie magic. What if I told you that the future is already here?

Technology has grown and matured over the last 25 years to a point where man and machine are slowly becoming one. A new and exciting area of tech that is receiving a lot of buzz right now is brain-computer interface technology.

brain computer interfacesWhat is Brain-Computer Technology?

A brain-computer interface is a direct communication pathway between the brain and an electrical device. The neurons of the brain are measured with electrodes, which then sends an electronic signal to a device such as a prosthetic leg or arm to simulate human movements.

There are currently two approaches that are yielding results in field studies. The non-invasive brain-computer interface measure activity from large groups of neurons with electrodes placed on the surface of the scalp (EEG). Invasive brain-computer interface measure activity from single neurons with miniature wires placed inside the brain.

Who Is Using Brain-Computer Interface Today?

The United States military has always been on the cutting edge of developing and using new emerging technology in all branches of the services.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco, contracts worth $56 million to create electrical brain implants capable of treating seven psychiatric conditions, including addiction, depression, and borderline personality disorder.

The military is trying to overcome an epidemic of mental illness among veterans, including suicide rates three or four times that of the general public due to long combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. This is why the military is turning to neurological devices.

The Brain Chip

Doctors in Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and researchers from Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio have helped a quadriplegic man move his hand for the first time with a brain chip.

Ian Burkhart, the man who was injured in a driving accident was the first patient to use Neurobridge. The Neuobridge system is made of a computer chip implanted in the brain, a brain-computer interface and a sleeve able to send electric signals to the forearm and hand of the patient.

This groundbreaking technology proves the brain-computer interface is more than just a fantasy it is a reality.

What Does This Mean For The Future Of Healthcare Education?

What this means for the future of healthcare education is that learning is going to have to be more cross categorical than ever before.

It won’t be enough for a student to know about basic brain functions and muscle interaction. They will need to understand mechanics, engineering, and software development just to name a few categories.

The healthcare system and healthcare technology are rapidly evolving. Healthcare education must evolve with it to meet the demands of today. I can help you develop a curriculum that can meet this demand. The future is here. Contact me with any questions you may have today

Star Trek Comes to Your Classroom: How to Use the Screenless Display to Train Your Students

screenless displaysScreenless display technology has been used in science fiction for decades, but this advanced display system has also been worked into a usable format over the last few years.The development of Google Glass in 2012 brought this technology to the forefront. It also created a wide range of possibilities in terms of how this technology could be used.

So how can you use the screenless display to train your students? From the standpoint of healthcare, how can you use screenless displays to train medical personnel and safeguard patient information? A few benefits to the healthcare field have already been realized, but many more may still be on the horizon.

How Screenless Displays Work

There are three main categories of screenless displays that come in the form of a wearable device. The first is the light guide optical element (LOE) device. This looks like a pair of glasses that enables users to view a see-through display imported from their phones or other digital device. The image is projected onto the thin glass of the device.

The retinal scanning device (RSD) and the virtual retinal display (VRD) work in almost the same way as each other, but using different equipment. In these cases, an image is projected directly onto the retina. VRD has been developing for over two decades, but more compact and easily accessible forms with better quality display are now being developed.

There is another type of screenless display that does not require a wearable device to view the object—hologram technology. The way this works is through a precise setup of lasers, mirrors and film. The laser light is guided by mirrors, going through a beam splitter, and each branch of the split beam goes through a diverging lens, which widens the beams. One beam goes straight to a photographic emulsion, while the other hits the object then is guided to the emulsion. The disruption caused by the difference in the two beams creates a viewable hologram.

How to Use Screenless Displays for Healthcare Training

All forms of screenless displays can be used for healthcare training. Each one can provide a large display of germs, cells, anatomy, or anything else that’s not easily seen with the naked eye. The case of holograms is especially helpful over screen displays because students and instructors can view a 3D image together and address any questions by interacting with the display.

How Screenless Display Improve Security

Wearable screenless devices may be best for protecting patients’ privacy. Healthcare information needs to be safeguarded and there are HIPPA rules that employees should follow, but mistakes do happen. Wearable screenless displays would cut down on the risk because the information would only be seen by the person wearing the device. No one could look over their should at their screen, they wouldn’t have to remember to lock their computer while stepping away. Patient information would only be available to the people meant to see it.

To learn more about advances in healthcare training or how Avidity Medical Design is striving to innovate healthcare education platforms, feel free to contact us.

The Latest Trends in Cancer Treatment for 2014: Targeted Cancer Drugs

the latest trends in cancer treatment 2014One of the latest trends in cancer treatment for 2014 is the use of targeted drugs that attack the genetic “on switch” for cancer. According to recent story on CBS News, one of these new approaches to fighting cancer is a type of targeted cancer therapy that could one day eliminate conventional chemotherapy as we know it.

Chemotherapy, as it is currently practiced, involves delivering powerful cancer-fighting drugs intravenously to the site of a tumor. While this type of treatment can reduce or even eliminate a tumor, it also wreaks havoc on surrounding healthy tissue. This makes cancer patients ill and weak. Conventional chemotherapy is like World War II era carpet bombing: a powerful attack but with a lot of collateral damage remaining.

Targeted drugs are more like smart bombs. A recent research project describes a new treatment that uses the tumors own genetic sequence to attack it. Researchers sequenced 10 genes in lung cancer patients and in two thirds of them found the “on switch” that causes cancers to manifest and grow. The new drug, an oral medication that is selected according to the results of the genetic sequencing of the tumors, turns that switch to “off,” keeping the cancer under control for a significant period of time.

Targeted drugs that attack the genetic “on switch” for cancer do not currently represent a cure for cancer. What they may do, however, is to turn cancer into a chronic disease, rather than a fatal disease. Although there may still be some adverse health effects, these drugs may keep the cancer from metastasizing, or spreading to other areas of the body, thereby allowing patients to live longer and healthier lives. Targeted drugs may hopefully work for many different types of cancer, and may buy patients enough time to allow real cures to come through the pipeline.

For more information contact us.

The Future of Electronic Medical Records: Sharing as Well as Storing

The Future of Electronic Medical RecordsWhat is the Future of Electronic Medical Records? Most healthcare providers are slowly but surely transitioning from the traditional hard copy paper record to the electronic medical record that is more easily entered, stored, and accessed. Tablets have replaced notepads for doctors dictating the patient’s medical history, review of systems, physical examination, and factors in medical decisionmaking. This has freed the healthcare provider from spending additional time entering data, and reduced the amount of time taken away from patient care. Tablets can also take visual images on the spot as needed.

The future, according to KERA, a north Texas public radio station, is tying all these records into a network that primary care physicians, specialists, and other healthcare providers can share. For example, it is still very common for patients to have to fill out the same forms over and over again when seeing other doctors, including specialists to whom he or she has been referred by the primary care physician. One reason is that various healthcare providers have different medical record software programs that do not necessarily communicate with one another over a network.

In the future, different specialists will be able to access medical information on a patient instantaneously, including notes from the primary care physician, and add data if necessary.  This would streamline the recordkeeping process that has been the bane of healthcare providers and free them up to spend more time taking care of patients.  As a bonus, the system could be geared to alert the primary care physician instantly when a patient has been admitted to the emergency room, or a record has been updated by another physician.

In the present, electronic medical records store patient information. In the future, healthcare professionals will find new ways to access and share patient information that goes beyond storing it in the patient record.

For more information contact us.