New technology is helping University of Nebraska Medical Center students. It is called iWall – an interactive, digital learning device similar to a tablet – but bigger.
There is one in Omaha and another in Scottsbluff. The curved wall of screens at each site allows students and faculty to interact in real-time.
UNMC Associate Vice Chancellor Pamela Boyers says this opens the door to new training methods.
“It means they can share images. It means they can share thoughts. It means they can interact. It means they can do annotations on the wall. It very much supports collaborative learning,” Boyers tells Nebraska Radio Network.
The technology will be part of the Interprofessional Experiential Center for Enduring Learning (iEXCEL), a program to include competency-based simulation and interdisciplinary training. It will allow students as well as health professionals to practice skills before encountering real patients.
Boyers says students who have tested it out are excited about the possibilities.
“They were very engaged and enthusiastic. Of course, they’re all digital learners themselves, so they’re fairly used to working with interactive technology, such as iPads,” she says.
So far, nursing and dental hygiene students in Omaha and Scottsbluff have used the iWall to educate a mock patient on the connection between diabetes and periodontal disease.
“It really stimulates new ways of thinking and it really engages the students,” Boyers says. “One thing that it also does for us is make sure that we are fair about who has access to these extraordinary, advanced technologies. It shouldn’t just be Omaha. It should be a statewide phenomenon.”
Boyers says the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Kearney will get an iWall in the future.
“We’re really interested in preparing our health profession students to provide the highest quality and safest possible care,” she says. “Everything that we do has to do with providing the right education at the right time, so they become excellent caregivers.”
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:44]