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Gadgets & Home Improvement

iPads, tablets for first-year students to boost learning

Students are aimed to "take ownership of their own learning" as they're being equipped with iPads and tablets.
December 4, 2012
By: Andrea Ong
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iPads, tablets for first-year students to boost learning

EVERY first-year medical student at the National University of Singapore (NUS) is set to be armed with either an iPad or Android tablet early next year in a bid to enhance their learning.

During an anatomy lesson, for instance, students could manipulate a three-dimensional map of the human body on their iPads and compare it with a cadaver.

They can also use their tablets to access lectures and research information any time.

"We want to make sure that technology can be like second nature to our students, because that's how they're going to practise medicine in the future," said Associate Professor Hooi Shing Chuan, vice-dean of education at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at NUS.

Providing students with such devices is one of several new ideas being tested on the new students.

The aim is to help them "take ownership of their own learning", said Prof Hooi.

Last year, the school implemented a pass-fail system for first-year students, who are no longer graded in their final examinations.

"It was great; the students loved it. There was no change in their performance and it even decreased the stress as far as exams were concerned," he said.

Prof Hooi hopes the move will let students focus more on learning rather than preparing for exams.

Current first-year students can also take part in an activity where they clip a device to themselves to measure the steps taken and calories burned in a day and how well they are sleeping.

The device, called Fitbit, lets them experience how challenging it can be to maintain a healthy lifestyle before they dish out such advice to patients.

It is one activity students can take up within their houses. Starting this year, first-year students are divided into 10 houses which they will remain in for the rest of their time in medical school.

The houses will enhance their sense of belonging and promote peer mentoring, said assistant dean of education Joshua Levi Jacobs.

On the benefits of being a first-year student now, he said with a smile: "They are entering a privileged group that is being facilitated, enabled and empowered."

ANDREA ONG

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