In Clinical Teaching Essentials we provide descriptions of many different apps and suggest how they might be used within the medical education context. Some may resonate with your present style of teaching, others may tempt you to be more creative during teachable moments and some may appeal to you in the face of a specific learner’s individual needs. You may also feel that some of the apps we present are of no use to you at all. That is expected. The use of the iPad in clinical medical education is intended to both support you as a preceptor and to improve teaching efficiency and effectiveness. It provides additional teaching strategies which can be used to improve your practice. Do not feel obliged to use apps when not beneficial.

Keep in mind however, we are always presenting new challenges to our trainees and expect them to continue growing as lifelong learners. We require them to put in the effort to master new skills which at first seem quite cumbersome. The same is true for us as preceptors.

Learning new technology can seem daunting and take some initial effort. However, the more we approach this skill with an open mind, curiosity and pragmatism, the more we can make use of helpful resources.

With this in mind, we hereby give you:

PERMISSION TO PLAY

By play, we mean touch every button, swipe in this direction and that. Try out all the features of the apps that we are presenting. Playing with the apps provides the best way in which to learn about the features of the apps.

Note: Playing with the apps that we present cannot “break” your iPad. If in playing your iPad “locks up”, then try the following simple troubleshooting steps: (1) Try closing the app, if that does not solve the issue (2) try shutting down your iPad, (3) Very rarely, if the problem does not resolve with step 1 or 2, you may need to reset your iPad. Be assured, none of these troubleshooting steps will remove- data from your iPad.

A Framework for Describing Apps

This resource has categorized the applications it highlights according to the following helpful framework.

Does the app:

  1. Replace an already in use physical object (e.g. does the app replace textbook content).
  2. Enhance an already in use physical object (e.g. does the app support textbook content with multimedia advances such as audio or video).
  3. Provide Something New that didn’t exist before (e.g. 3D manipulative anatomy apps).

As we describe each of the apps in the following sections, we will provide examples of how the apps may be used in ways that align with this framework. In general, the apps described in the following sections will progress, first with replacement apps, then enhancement apps, and finally with apps that are something completely new.