12 November 2012

Rwanda: Medical Interns Dump Notebooks for Tablets

With ICT penetrating every aspect of our lives through computers, mobile and smart phones, it is only logical that in education too, the notebooks and blackboards are replaced by more sophisticated and efficient equipment. Thus, pupils in an increasing number of primary schools are using the simple laptops distributed by the one-laptop-per-child program, which give them access to much more material and getting them more involved in the lessons.

And now universities are also getting into the act. Recently, thanks to a collaboration with the US-based Tulane University, 3rd year students at the faculty of medicine of the National University of Rwanda who are about to start their clinical internship, received 92 GalaxyTab 7 tablet computers, preloaded with about 60 medical textbooks.

"The medical profession keeps evolving and changing, whereas the time in the classroom is becoming insufficient for students to grasp all the medical principles," one official from Tulane University explained. "The tablets will allow the NUR medical faculty to give the general overview and discuss the principles, after which students can themselves explore the details of specific topics."

Just like the laptops in primary schools, the tablets also broaden the scope of available educational material from textbooks with illustrations to multimedia and interactive tools, which will make it easier for lecturers to explain certain processes. In addition, given that the tablets are using the Android platform, specific educational apps can be found at the Google Play Store.

It is not a coincidence that the tablets have been given to students who are starting their internship. "We wanted to offer students a tool that they can easily carry in their medical coats as they are in a clinic, and easily access medical apps and textbooks," the Tulane official said. Furthermore, the tablets can obviously be used to take notes during the internship, look up information and they double as a telephone.

Dr. Patrick Kyamanywa, Dean of Faculty of Medicine, is enthusiastic about the initiative. "The tablets will help to upgrade the teaching and learning of Rwanda's future health workforce," he said. "Students will be able to access more information, and enhance their learning, thanks to the tablets."

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