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Students Receive Free iPads at Drexel University

Drexel University College of Medicine instructors can now tell their students "There's an app for that." That's because the College has given its incoming class of first-year medical students free iPads equipped with the medical school curriculum and several custom apps developed by the college to help make learning more interactive.

All 260 members of the Class of 2017 received the iPads with retina display today during the first day of orientation, following a session that introduced the new students to all of the technology resources available for them.

"We are firm believers in the use of technology to enhance the education of our students," said Daniel V. Schidlow, M.D., Annenberg Dean of Drexel University College of Medicine and senior vice president of medical affairs.  "This generation of students has grown up in a digital world. By utilizing the latest digital resources, we can offer them a richer, more interactive learning experience."

The iPads are preloaded with both tracks of curriculum offered by the college during a student's first two years of study - Interdisciplinary Foundations of Medicine (IFM) and the Program for Integrated Learning (PIL). The iPads are also equipped with several custom apps developed at Drexel University College of Medicine:

• Class Companion: enables students to view videos of recorded lectures at variable playback speed while at the same time annotating digital downloads of the lecture handout notes.
• Virtual Microscope: enables students to view digitized histology and pathology slides anywhere and anytime without the use of a microscope.
• LiveSurvey: enables students to interact during class by participating in polls and quizzes in real time.

In addition, the iPads include a link to the Drexel Libraries and to an existing program developed at the College of Medicine known as doc.com, a series of online learning modules which help improve students' communication skills through web-based video encounters between physicians and patients.

"These custom apps are really going to enhance the learning experience for our students, above and beyond what they may be used to," said Arnold Smolen, Ph.D., associate dean for information technology. "We want them to be able to make full use of the device."

Not only will the iPads enhance the learning experience, but they will also eliminate the need for paper handouts, a savings of approximately 7800 pages and $260 per student during their first two years alone.  The College is also exploring the possibility of eventually providing electronic versions of some required textbooks.

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