iPad use in the 1st year of a DPT program: a Pilot Study

Purpose/Hypothesis : Tablet computing is reaching widespread adoption in higher education. Various schools of medicine have implemented iPad use in their didactic and clinical curricula with positive outcomes. Little is published to date, however, on the impact of iPad use in the classroom on learning, particularly in a Physical Therapy program. This pilot program allowed our faculty to examine the benefits of a paperless learning environment, study the impact of learning with Òapps,Ó the benefits and challenges of integrating technology into our curriculum and determine whether iPads should be required learning tool for future cohorts of students. It also helped determine student preferences for technology in the classroom which can help guide how we package and deliver our course materials.Number of Subjects : 42Materials/Methods : Students beginning the first year of the DPT program and faculty participated in this study. Half of the students entering the DPT program in the fall of 2013 were randomly assigned and issued iPads to use throughout the first semester of the program. At the end of the 1st semester, students returned their iPads, which were then were redistributed to students in the other half of the class for use during the 2nd semester. Students issued iPads did not receive hardcopies of handouts for at least the first 2 weeks of the semester. Course materials were made available for all students electronically. Hard copies of course materials were provided for all students who were not issued iPads, unless they opted out of this. We surveyed students and faculty prior to the Fall semester, and at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters. We also surveyed students after completion of a 3 week clinical rotation. In addition, we conducted focus groups each semester to further evaluate the impact of technology in our curriculum.Results : The results and discussion for both semesters and clinical portion of the study will be complete and presented at the conference. Preliminary survey data from the 1st semester reflects generally positive attitudes towards use of the iPad or device of choice in the classroom. After an initial learning curve of 2 weeks, most students were able to adjust to this method of note taking and studying. The iPad was the preferred tool in lectures for 70% of those in the iPad group, while 23% preferred paper. 41% of those in the iPad group also used a laptop in class. In the non-iPad group, 29% chose to use a laptop in class. Of this group, 76% preferred paper in class.Conclusions : StudentsÕ preferred technological tools in the classroom vary with previous experience with various devices and learning style. With practice, many students were able to adapt to a new method of note taking and studying in the DPT program, though not all students agree that a completely paperless DPT curriculum is conducive to their learning.Clinical Relevance : Understanding student preferences for technology as well as the benefits and challenges of using tablets or other technological devices in a DPT program can help guide faculty in packaging and delivering course materials.

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  • Control #: 2026141
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Nora Riley, Bryon Ballantyne
  • Keywords: iPad|Instructional technology|faculty perception

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