Medical schools have traditionally relied on undergraduate science grades and the MCAT to select students most eligible for a spot in their program. This approach is based on numerous studies that show evidence that high MCAT scores and G.P.A are highly correlated to medical school performance. This notion may be shifting based on more recent studies that show that MCAT scores are significantly influenced by a student’s race, gender, and socioeconomic status (SES). Few medical schools and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) conducted experiments to test a different approach to medical school admissions. Instead of using grades and MCAT scores, they used SES, cultural background, gender, and the medical school’s particular mission as cut-off points to whittle down the applicant pool.
The results showed that students selected based on the criteria listed above appear to be more collegial and supportive of one another and are more engaged in community activities. They are also as prepared as the more traditional applicants.
A study conducted by The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has experimented with a similar holistic approach in their student selection. The study showed that students performed as well as their more traditional counterparts and were more likely to pursue fields in primary care and psychiatry. Based on the success of the study, the school plans to expand its program and encourage non-traditional college students from all majors to apply to their program.
There is a risk with admitting students without MCAT and G.P.A considerations; it can potentially hurt their standing in the national surveys. Nonetheless, 43 of the nation’s 141 medical schools have already expressed interest in adopting some form of the holistic review approach. Over the next few years, the AAMC will track how students admitted using this approach perform in medical school, during training, and the inpatient setting. It will be interesting to see the implication that this approach has on the future of medical schools, medical applicants, and practices.
The Khan Academy, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Association of American Medical Colleges, is holding a competition regarding MCAT preparation. On the Khan Academy website, there is a call for video submissions targeting pre-medical and medical curriculum content, along with related review questions. One of the stated goals of the competition is to find the "next generation of medical educators".
The Khan Academy is well known for shaking up traditional educational ideas and practices by offering content in largely visual mediums, with embedded self-assessment and review in the form of mini-quizzes and a variety of progression graphs and metrics. They are now stepping into the world of medical education, and are seeking out the digital native generation to help move that field into the 21st century.
Winners of the video contest receive a paid trip to the Academy HQ to assist in the development of a free and open toolkit for trainees in the health professions. Applicants must be college graduates; and students in the health sciences, along with clinical practitioners, are strongly encouraged to submit videos. [I would make the assumption that having previously taken and passed the MCAT exam would be extremely beneficial to those sending in videos- especially those who are familiar with the changes currently being integrated into the exam, and methods for success.]
Each successful applicant must provide three short (less than 10 minute) videos, and winners will be chosen based on the following criteria:
- Connection or Reference to the MCAT2015 Foundational Concepts at the baccalaureate level
- Teaching style and effectiveness
- Level of authenticity and engagement
- Content Accuracy
I think this could be a great way to get thoughtful, engaging and modern educational content out to those taking the MCAT. Allowing the "crowdsourcing" of didactics, backed up with a critical review of both the content and style, is a novel idea as far as medical education goes. There are multiple benefits here: finding methods to replace the traditional lecture (which is growing more out of favor with today's learners than ever before), giving both junior and senior trainees much-needed experience in crafting lesson plans and interactive sessions, and building a body of free, high-quality test preparation resources. I'll be watching the site in mid-July to see the winning videos!
The use of technology in the classroom is increasing more and more every day. This article shows evidence that transitioning with the technology era may result in better test scores and possibly better physicians. Many medical schools supply students with iPads to have easy access to electronic textbooks and lecture podcasts. The University of California provided their medical students class of 2014 an iPad to do just that. A report from the university showed that the first class to receive an iPad scored an average of 23% higher on national exams than the previous classes that were not provided an iPad. The average incoming MCAT and GPA of the students were similar.
Students from the University of California use their technology access to do a lot of great things such as create useful health apps. Using technology in medical school gives students more opportunities to be innovative and gain essential knowledge in their fields using technology.
An online video game developed by Bossa programmers allows players to be the surgeon and perform a heart transplant using surgical tools and seeing pixelated blood (this game isn’t for the squeamish) by controlling hand movements through their keyboard and mouse.
The Bossa programmers got positive reviews and are not thinking of developing a full version of Surgeon Simulator in the upcoming years. The new version will include brain surgery and dentistry.
Heart transplants through video games could potentially be a great way to teach students prior to real patient encounters.
I am very intrigued by the concept of gamification - and hope to learn more about its potential and pitfalls (and so can you, with the free online Gamification course on coursera.org, offered by Kevin Werbach at the University of Pennsylvania!)
I came across this article about the Teach With Portals game, where students learn math and physics by completing puzzles embedded in a rich world of game-play and instruction.
There is also a puzzle maker offered by the company (Valve) where instructors can create custom lesson plans using the gaming technology, and students can use developing kits to create their own puzzles as well (I'm imagining this as a really cool way for students to create quizzes or games for each other as practice or assessment).
Even as an adult, I find learning to be infinitely more fun when paired with games, interactive reviews and self-tests: for example, the Khan Academy has me excited about 4th grade math again! And the enormously fun Busuu site and smartphone app have replaced Facebook as my go-to time killer. Right now I'm working my way through the second of five available modules to learn conversational Spanish.
The influx of sites and apps utilizing game theory seems to have given gamification a bad reputation as something of a gimmick. However, I think examples like the ones above show it has real potential when done right. Please let us know about other sites or apps you think have done education as gaming well!
Coursera was launched today - a website offering free college-level courses in a variety of fields to anyone who wants to sign up. We read and write a lot about the changing face of modern education (medical education and otherwise), and this new service falls neatly in line with recent trends: online, collaborative, self-directed and self-paced, consumer-driven courses for adults. Right now the universities involved are Stanford, Michigan, UC-Berkeley, Princeton and Penn; providing significant heft and reputation to the brand.
For a couple of years Stanford has been offering courses from their computer science department online for free, but it wasn't very well-marketed (perhaps for good reason), and I only knew about it via word of mouth. With the addition of four other highly-regarded institutions to Stanford's Comp Sci curriculum, and a wide array of courses of study (humanities, medicine, economics, social networks and statistics, just to name a few) Coursera is creating a multi-institution, multi-disciplinary network of adult learning options, and it's pretty exciting.
This educational model isn't just innovative though, it also makes a lot of sense. Adults are living ever more virtual and networked lives (like it or not), and need the kind of flexibility a quality online curriculum provides. Up until recently, online education was mostly viewed as the realm of for-profit institutions, or for distance learning only. My own graduate program, despite being formulated specifically for working adults, offered no online classes as of late 2009. Institutions also need to realize that sharing resources among and between them makes each one stronger, and the combined power therein isn't something we know the real impact of yet. With the creation of Coursera's curriculum model, many of the issues surrounding traditional education in a modern world are mitigated - while offering the classes free of charge.
I've already signed up, and am looking forward to the Gamification and Networked Life courses that start this fall!
The CliniSpace Battlecare app was built for training the basics of trauma triage. While this particular app is geared more towards a battlefield environment, apps such as this can be used for guided learning for medical school students.
There are two great articles currently on GOOD: the first is about a new kind of classroom-less college for adult learners; and the second is about transformational schools that are working to create new notions of learning and teaching.
College Unbound is a new learning system that allows students to focus their education around a particular passion, interest or goal. Individualized plans are created for each learner, incorporating online seminars, technology and team learning, and an internship or job where the student gets to master and incorporate real-world skills into their educational objectives.
Some scary information from the article:
"How broken is the system? Over the past 20 years, the United States has fallen from first to 12th in the percentage of young people with postsecondary degrees. Tuition’s doubled in the past decade, rising faster than any other item in the Consumer Price Index since 1978. Student loan default rates are increasing. Only 56 percent of students complete a four-year degree in six years. And a nationwide study last year, using a test called the Collegiate Learning Assessment, found that 36 percent of students demonstrate no gain in learning between freshman and senior year."
I think we all know that the higher-education system is broken, and there are a lot of opinions out there right now about how to fix it. But sometimes it feels like people are just throwing ideas against a wall to see what sticks, and so many are being tested right now that it will likely be decades before any one design comes out on top. But it seems more and more as though "integrated, experience-based and outcome-based" strategies like College Unbound are coming into vogue, and I hope that (with increased funding) they can start to pull together the data they need to prove that it's a worthwhile system for many adult learners.
In a similar vein, educational activist Sam Chaltain is asking his readers (and the general public) to submit the names of schools they feel are "transformational", based on the Q.E.D. Foundation's Transformational Change model. The Q.E.D. Foundation states that truly transformational education is where students find the "skills and know-how to co-create their public world, to participate in their community and help shape the local and global decisions that will impact their lives". I enjoyed reading over the 22 traits of a transformational school (and learned a lot!), and am discouraged to hear that only two schools have so far met his requirements. I truly hope that more educators, parents, and administrators read the Transformational Change Model and start brainstorming ways to incorporate the ideas there into a more progressive system for students of all ages.