6C2: Skype Thoughts

Connecting with others almost always helps us learn something new. The value of using skype is that we can (usually) see and hear each other from distant locations. Facial expressions and body language which are huge in communication are able to be visualized, lending value to the experience.

My colleague and I discussed both the social and professional uses for skype. I’ve used skype in the past to connect with family when I or another family member have been out of the country and didn’t want a huge cell phone bill. It’s helpful when a child is away at college and wants to show you something (a tie, a blister, or the color of a date’s dress!)

My thoughts on using skype are to hold open “office” hours when facilitating classes or to connect with other health care professionals or teachers in order to collaborate on projects. There was a particular outreach program a few years back that was using skype to connect with high school students who were interested in pursuing health care careers. A medical team was in Africa and wanted students to see the types of interventions that were being provided. Unfortunately, the team was able to approve only a few classes for participation and my class was not accepted. But the potential for sharing life changing experiences via skype is intriguing.

Health care in rural areas is another area in which skype is making a difference. Specialists can evaluate patients from a distance. This opens up a whole new area for health care professionals in evaluating and treating clients. I think it also opens up a whole new area in learning distance treatment skills. Teaching students how to interact and evaluate via skype may become an important health care skill as this becomes more prevalent.

Podcasts as an Educational Tool

The podcast series at http://www.npr.org/sections/health-care/ is a current events health care production. Not only is it important for students to learn the basics of health care, but they should be aware of health care policy, issues, and political decisions. These events will affect prospective patients, the student and their families, and may help students determine which educational paths to pursue.

The series explores everything from the Affordable Care Act (trending right now) to hospital acquired infections to caregiver issues. The information is from radio broadcasts and has the sound and interesting rhythm that keeps the listener’s interest.

This series is a great way to expose students to the health care dilemmas and issues. I remember a time when I had to find a current issue and discuss it in class. It should have been interesting, but in actuality was an exercise that was more grueling than interesting. Helping students find a medium in which they can listen to someone explaining a perspective or idea is almost like getting a guest speaker for current events. Students can gain insight as to the perspectives of government policy makers, current patients, and health care providers.

I foresee using these podcasts as a springboard for a current events forum or as an adjunct to lessons that discuss topics such as health care insurance. Students can respond to the objectives addressed in the podcasts through their own podcasts or a blog. I could also post the podcast on a voicethread and have students comment on the voicethread.

Other podcasts which address healthcare and medical issue are at:




Using Flickr to Teach Infection control



Clinical Manifestations of HIV Infection

Flickr has the potential to make explanation and understanding of health care concepts an interactive exercise. Some of the hardest concepts for students to actually understand are the types of precautions that are used to prevent the spread of infection. Posters and readings provide one source of information, but until the student must actually apply the types of precautions, they really don’t understand how these ideas will affect them and their patients.

Enter Flickr photostreams. My idea is to have students create their own flickr accounts and develop a photostream which shows how different types of precautions are used and what types of infections they are useful for. Students can create a Flickr account, learn about the types of Creative Commons licenses, and decide whether to use existing photos or take new ones and develop photostreams explaining the concepts.

We can post the links to the photostreams on the classroom blog and students can answer questions about the types of precautions as they view the photostreams.

As the photo above illustrates, these are the clinical manifestations of HIV. What precautions would you take to avoid spreading infection to yourself, your clients, and your loved ones?

Wellcome Images. (2012, November 3) Clinical Manifestations of HIV Infection. Wellcome Images’s photostream. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from https://www.flickr.com/photos/wellcomeimages/8232150553/in/photostream/.

4D1: Wikis in the Classroom

Say wiki and colleagues instantly think Wikipedia and sound the alarm. The general attitude is that Wikipedia should not be used in education. The validity, reliability, and credibility of Wikipedia are usually put to question. As I researched for another part of this module, I came across two sources that substantiate the educator’s hesitancy to use Wikipedia in the classroom. The disclaimer page for Wikipedia alerts users as to how quickly content can change and advises that the source may not be appropriate for certain types of research. Young (2006) makes the point that Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikpedia, advises college student against using Wikipedia as a reference source for papers. See the source here.

However, references sources aside, wikis have potential for teaching students valuable skills about collaboration, research, editing, and using online tools. Students may also learn about things far outside of their current realm. The class wiki, Flat Classroom Project at http://flatclassroomproject.wikispaces.com/ was particularly inspiring. The site was quite comprehensive. Students in the United States and Bangladesh exchanged information. On the site were detailed instructions for partner assignments and rubrics were included for easy reference. I was also able to view the student created pages and read about the topics they studied.

In my own classroom, I visualize using wikis as a collaborative tool that students can use to develop the skills I mentioned above. I think it is important to include the grading rubrics on the site as was done in the Flat Classroom Project. To most students, creating a wiki is probably much more appealing than writing a research paper. Working with a partner is usually met with enthusiasm and building an online project can be thought of fun. After having worked on wikis in BCEOL and other classes, I am aware of the frustrations of working with the technology of wikis and how important patience is when working in a group. I am also aware of how much I appreciate the members of the groups I’ve worked with. These experiences can help me help students navigate wikis and learn teamwork skills.

In the Allied Health classroom, some potential wiki topics are:

Choosing a Nursing Home for Your Loved One

Finding the Right College for Your Career (Insert the Career Name, i.e., Nursing, Physical Therapy, etc.)

Advanced Directives and DNR orders

Choosing the Best Hospital (or Doctor) for __________(Procedure/Surgery)

Diagnosis and Treatment of ____________________(Disease, Disorder)

Growth and Development Series (Infant to Elderly)

Social Bookmarking Plan

STANDARDS: RWSL 1.1.11A-H, 1.2.11A,B: Standard Area – CC.3.5: Reading Informational Text: Students read, understand, and respond to informational text – with emphasis on comprehension, making connections among ideas and between texts with focus on textual evidence.

UNIT: Integumentary System

LESSON: Using Diigo for Research

MATERIALS/RESOURCES: Computers with Internet Access, Integumentary System Objectives


OBJECTIVE: Students will bookmark sites on the class Diigo account for final projects related to the Integumentary System

INTRODUCTION: Review Diigo account information (learned in a previous lesson). Assign groups of 3-4 students to find information for the following categories: Terminology, Anatomy, Physiology, Disease Processes, Prevention of Integumentary Disorders, Environmental Factors and Integumentary System Disorders, and Treatments for Integumentary system Disorders



Each group will research sites related to their assigned category and post these to the class Diigo site. Students are required to tag their sources appropriately and with their group assignment name. Each group is expected to find at least five credible sites.


Logging into Diigo accounts, researching and posting sources.


Check progress frequently. Group assignment. Individual instruction.


5 Group Assignment sites tagged with appropriate names to class Diigo account

Really Simple, Silly (RSS Feeds)

A quick search for RSS feeds on various meaningful topics yielded information on vocational education and teaching, learning networks, educational technology, and health care careers. I can search a whole lot more on topics of interest, but this will do for starters. RSS feeds are really simple, Silly. Seriously, who would have thought that I could look to find ways to detect plagiarism and find tools that help me not only detect, but also help me help students not to plagiarize? Check it out – Top 8 Plagiarism Tools.

RSS feeds add a whole new dimension to “class” comments. I can learn from the initial post but also from the comments that people post. Sharing in the online classroom allows me to learn in so many ways from so many different commenters.

I foresee using RSS feeds to keep up to date on classroom technologies, current health dilemmas and issues and career choices, and to assist students in learning about these. A unique dimension of collaboration is possible with RSS feeds and I’ll be exploring these possibilities as I delve more deeply into the feeds.