ABSTRACT: Incorporating iPads into a preclinical curriculum: A pilot study.
Background: The incorporation of technology into medical education is critical for learners. Little is known about the effect of integrating iPad technology into undergraduate medical education. Aims: We introduced iPads into the first-year curriculum in 2011-2012. We aimed to evaluate students’ use of, and attitudes toward, the iPad. Methods: We administered two surveys to students during the 2011-2012 academic year. Additionally, we conducted focus groups to further evaluate the effectiveness of iPad integration into the curriculum. Results: Survey data reflect mixed attitudes toward the use of the iPad in the preclinical curriculum. While a vast majority of students agree “the iPad has value in the medical curriculum” (79% in the first survey; 65% in the second survey), there was a decrease over time in the view that “the iPad is a positive addition to the curriculum” (75% in the first survey; 49% in the second survey). Focus group data indicate students appreciate certain aspects of iPad use in the curriculum, including improved curriculum interactivity, but the majority believe it cannot replace printed handouts at this time. Discussion: The iPad provides some benefits in undergraduate medical education. More studies are necessary to determine how the iPad is best incorporated into medical education.