Social software or the use of Internet (Web 2.0) for generating your own content, to connect with one another and to share and manage content with each other is used by young people. How do first year medical students use this social software? This could be important because these networks could become networks of learners as soon as we’re able to create useful applications.
- over 90% of med students use instant messaging, 94% of females aND 93% of males
- 70% used social networking sites (facebook, twitter, myspace)
- 20% read blogs
- 8% write their own blog
- 20% of male medical students contributed to wikis and used media sharing sites such as flickr and youtube
- social bookmarking was hardly used (delicio.us, digg)
How was this study done?
all first year medical students (n=212) at the University of Leeds completed a paper based self-administered questionnaire at the time of their information skills (IT) assessment.
Overall males were more engaged in social media. The use of these media has increased over the years. In previous research in 2006 80% of students used instant messaging, 24% used social networks, 31% shared photos, blogs were read by 38% and 21% wrote a blog. A survey in 2006 at the University of Oxford showed the high use of instant messaging (82%) and social networking (60%), 58% read blogs, 38% wrote their own blog, 19% used flickr, 57% used YouTube and 19% used del.icio.us.
Students preferred the use of social software above the virtual learning environment provided by the institution.
Why is this important?
Educators are mostly digital immigrants whereas the student is a digital native. Educators should recognize the potential of social software without entering the networks of students. As the authors importantly state
The social networking sites have exciting potential for medical education but only if the educator can resist the temptation to meddle in what the students are doing.
Next the authors suggest some examples on how social networking could be used for education, but several examples are present on the net.
Sandars, J., Homer, M., Pell, G., & Crocker, T. (2010). Web 2.0 and social software: the medical student way of e-learning Medical Teacher, 2147483647-5 DOI: 10.3109/01421590701798729
Social media are changing medicine. On social networking sites patients may learn information about their doctors, medical students that compromises the professional relationship. Threats to patient confidentiality is another danger of Facebook and other social networking sites. But how big is the problem and if med schools are on social media sites do they have a policy for their med students and staff for using these sites such as Facebook and twitter?
Well from this recent study the results tell us that med schools and med students use social media websites a lot. Few of them have adequate policies announced about how to use these social media such as facebook and twitter. Want some examples? Centers for disease control and prevention on facebook, Surgeon General David Satcher on facebook. More important is what’s the best policy. From this study two kinds of policies were found, from stringent prohibitions to reflective questions. This recent publication has an excellent table with links to the sites with policies and a short description of the policy.
Now for the numbers.
- Of 132 United States medical schools at the time of this study, 100% had websites.
- 95.45% (126/132) of medical schools had any presence on Facebook, including pages for that medical school or current student or alumni groups from that medical school
- 71.21% (94/132) of medical schools had current student groups on Facebook and 54.55% (72/132) had alumni groups
- 42.42% (56/132) had at least one Facebook page for the medical school
- 10.6% (14/132) of medical schools had Twitter accounts such that the name or bio on Twitter specifically indicated that the account was for the medical school
- Only 13 of the 128 medical schools (10.2%) had guidelines and/or policies that explicitly mentioned social media or online social networking
Almost all med schools are on facebook and use social media, most do not have policies addressing student online social networking behavior. From table 1 you can see a shortened version of most policies, an excellent beginning for developing one.
Terry Kind,, Gillian Genrich,, Avneet Sodhi,, & Katherine C. Chretien4 (2010). Social media policies at US medical schools Medical Education Online : 10.3402/meo.v15i0.5324.
An excellent medlib round at Highlight Health. This edition is all about how social media is being used to promote health information online.
Besides links to posts on blogs about twitter, facebook, and other social media in Health and Medicine the autor also proposes to tweet and share posts using the Twitter hashtags #medinfo and #medlibs.
If you like a particular post, share it with your friends and be sure to add both hashtags.
Most physicians of my age only witnessed summative evaluations during their medical education. You studied your stuff and did an exam for which you could fail or not, go or no go. Our exams were tests aiming to summarize learning up to that point. Today most med students are evaluated with formative evaluation. Continuous evaluations carried out directly after a clinical situation or course unit. Formative evaluation is direct, teaching can be adjusted based on these evaluations and it promotes active involvement of the student.
Formative evaluations have to been done often for reliable measuring of progress, it takes more valuable time of staff members, a lot of papers have to be filled in. In short a lot of data and high administrative investment. One solution for this is the use of e-portfolio. Every med student has an online e-portfolio in which all the assessments can be rated and analyzed.
Could twitter be an alternative for this online e-portfolio? The advantages of twitter can be: instant availability online, only followers can see the messages, can be used anonymous when using nonpersonalized nicknames. In a recent study, direct messaging with Twitter was used as a formative evaluation tool.
Students and the teacher used an anonymous, nonpersonalized nickname on Twitter. They used direct messaging on Twitter: students and teachers asked for permission in a bidirectional manner to follow each other’s messages. The teacher was able to read the students’ messages, and each student could read the teacher’s messages; however, the students could not read the messages of their colleagues.
This study showed that in using twitter, formative evaluation does measure other results than summative evaluation, as it should. The online and offline summative evaluation results were identical. The formative evaluation did not influence the results of the summative evaluation. In short, on Twitter the formative evaluation is different from the summative as it should be, so it measures something different. This study only shows that formative evaluation works on twitter. It doesn’t show us if it’s a good solution to administrative work load and other problems with off line formative evaluations. The authors write very little about their practical experiences with twitter for formative evaluation.
What do you think of Twitter as an formative evaluation tool?
Stefan Stieger, D.Sc., & Christoph Burger (2010). Let’s Go Formative: Continuous Student Ratings with Web 2.0 Application Twitter CYBERPSYCHOLOGY, BEHAVIOR, AND SOCIAL NETWORKING, 163-167 : 10.1089/cyber.2009.0128
I still use RSS Feeds for reading my favorite blogs, as inspiration for writing my own blog, for staying up to date with PubMed, collecting information on several searches and from several sources, and for monitoring my blog and tweets. For reading RSS Feeds I use Google Reader because it’s an online reader which I can read from any PC as long as there’s an Internet connection, it’s fast to navigate with keyboard shortcuts, you can share your content, and create your own tags.
Other google reader fans have switched to twitter to stay up to date especially since twitter has lists, for a short comparison of gReader and twitter read Scobleizer: Why I don’t use Greader anymore. I think twitter and google reader for rss feeds are two different apps, both with their own advantages and disadvantages. For staying up to date I prefer rss feeds, searches on twitter deliver a lot of non information and you’ll always have to check the website to see if it’s worth your while.
Why I favor RSS Feeds
- It gives you control over all the information
- You can share your information not only with those who follow you on your GReader but also via the so called send to
- With a RSS feed reader all your information gathers in one place
- With keyboard shortcuts it’s fast to go through all your feeds
- Especially e-mail alerts are a pain, they fill up your inbox. They usually sit there until you direct them to dev0 or the waste bin
- RSS feeds are spam free
- Updates are in real time
- Privacy is better controllable than with twitter let alone facebook
- You can read them everywhere with online connection, such as your mobile, iPad, iPhone, netbook, you name it
- You can even make a hierarchical structure
There’s nothing better than RSS Feeds especially in combination with GReader, more tips and tricks
A very good and concise practical introduction to Google Wave. This video shows good examples on how to make use of the features of Google Wave. What I liked most about this video is the use of Google Wave for Twitter. There is a way to fully integrate Twitter into Google Wave: using TwitterGadget.
Another example is about embedding google wave in other applications such as blogs. This last feature sounds pretty cool. I’ve tried Google Wave recently with Tom Beek on twitter, a famous Dutch Saxophone player. We discussed one of my upcoming posts on Jazz and Medical Dangers. Another example from the video is playback or watching how a wave was build.
Wave combines features from email, instant messenger, Google Docs, wikis, and forums and throws its own spin on things. For a quick visual of its offerings versus similar tools, check out this feature-by-feature comparison.
Thanks Clinical Cases and Images
This is a video about using twitter during lectures. It’s mostly about the professor trying to get motivated by something different than useful for the students. See this video about the pro and cons of using twitter during lectures and ways to use it.
Read the full story on The Chronicle of Higher Education: Teaching With Twitter: Not for the Faint of Heart
Two of my favorite blog colleagues wrote posts about twitter lists. Not the new feature of twitter to make your own lists and exchange them but a collection of medical and other scientific journals on twitter and a list of scientists on twitter.
These lists are an excellent starting point if your interested in following some of them scientists or journals in your field on twitter.
The alphabetical twitter lists of scientists on twitter was included with biographical data and photos by Justin Reid and analyzed by 2020science to show how all those science types were interconnected. This resulted in a long list of scientists on twitter to be seen and read and selected for following on Listorious: Scientwist, curated by David Bradley.
The other collections were made by Laikas: Medical and other Scientific Journals. She started a google spreadsheet to be completed by all those interested in collecting bio-medical journals on twitter. Based on a poll she created 3 Twitter Journal List. You can subscribe to these lists and stay tuned. She made a completely overlapping set, where the Medical journal set is part of the Biomedical journal set, which belongs to the All/Science set. You can still adjust the spreadsheet with new journals in this field
You can follow each list on twitter, read her original post.
- (All) = http://twitter.com/laikas/scientific-journals-all : 90
- (Biomedical) = http://twitter.com/laikas/biomedical-journals: 68
- (Medical) = http://twitter.com/laikas/medical-journals: 48