New Year, New Tech. Take The Plunge

Technology has turned the world upside down and the educational world is no different. We profile many apps on this blog. Sometimes the information can be overwhelming! Suppose you want to add technology to your classroom and just don’t know how to go about it. Start with baby steps my friend…baby steps.

1. Realize that tech will never replace the teacher. It is nothing more than a tool, no different than a projector, a calculator or even a pencil or pen. Have it work for you…not the other way around.


2. Practice first, and then show. No one expects perfection when learning a new skill. However, make sure that you are comfortable with the technology before rolling it out to your students.


3. Incorporate distance guest speakers. Instead of having a local subject matter expert come into your class, why not invite a guest lecturer from across the state, the nation or from around the world. Skype has a great website for finding guest lecturers.


4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and ask for help. All of us were EMS responders before we became educators. Remember the mistakes that you made as you were learning skills such as patient assessment, ECG identification and pharmacology. You messed up…right? Well, allow yourself the same privilege with classroom tech. When you run into a problem that you can’t fix, don’t be afraid to ask your students for help. Most of them are digital natives and helping you, the instructor, will only increase their respect for you. In addition, you give them a chance to excel at an area of strength for them.


5. Understand the benefits that come from using technology. According to Cornell University, educators who use tech effectively in the classroom can expect:
Strengthened learning activities.
Engaged students.
Enhanced classroom communication and interconnectivity.
Increased efficiency with assessment.
Provides students with the opportunity to:
Create knowledge.
Interact with course material in multiple ways.
Develop their technological skills.


Need more information or have questions about how to start? Feel free to contact me or any of the folks who follow this blog. You will find that we are more than willing to help! Now…GO FOR IT!


Will Your EMS Students Be Ready?

Most of the posts from this blog focus on tools and apps for educators. However, this one is for your students.

All of a students schedule of class located in one dedicated location.

All of a students schedule of class located in one dedicated location.

Ultimately, educators want their students to be successful. Sometimes we need to help encourage that with some well thought out tools. Complete Class Organizer fits that bill. This low cost app not only helps your students with their organizational skills (or lack thereof), but it also includes a digital note taker, the ability to record lectures as well as a grade tracker. Complete Class Organizer is quite simple to use.

Complete Class Schedule

Complete Class Schedule

After the student sets up their semester schedule and finalizes all of the classes they are enrolled in, these classes will be visible on the right side of the screen. If the student selects a class, a dedicated class page opens showing class details including instructor and textbook information. The lower half of the app is dedicated to a To Do list with all items that need to be completed for that particular class as well as deadlines. The student can set reminders at intervals that they choose.

Reminders for items that are due for specific classes.

Reminders for items that are due for specific classes.

Complete Class Organizer has a great note taking app that allows the student to audio record the lecture while importing pictures and an embedded dictionary that is accessed simply by double tapping a word to look it up. In addition, for students doing medical calculations, Complete Class Organizer has an in app set of mathematical symbols. The app interacts with Dropbox and Google Docs. Other documents that they might have received by email can be easily imported.

Typewritten or free hand note taking app.

Typewritten or free hand note taking app.

• Synchronize notes with lecture recordings. Simply double-tap a word for quick playback.
• Take notes by typing and drawing
• Share notes with classmates over Bluetooth
• Auto-bulleting and numbered lists in notes
• Math, statistics, and logic symbols in notes and drawings
• View class websites and syllabi within the app
Generate, print, and email your weekly class schedule

Students can share notes via bluetooth.

Students can share notes via bluetooth.

Tools That Allow International EMS Study

Communication among students and educators is a dialogue. The right use of distance communication enhances the learning process. Why is online communication so important and what does it bring to the classroom?

1.  Immediate satisfaction! Students no longer have to wait for a document to take days or weeks to be returned to them. It is quite easy to collaborate with others from around the world in an almost instantaneous method.

2.  The use of online EMS collaboration for EMS students strengthens the philosophy of role of the educators as a coach. As educators, we shouldn’t have to worry about knowing all of the answers. However, using online collaboration tools, students and their instructors can search get information from many EMS professionals whether they are down the street or around the world.

3.  Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, your EMS students have the chance to go beyond stated expectations and explore specific areas of interest. This would help them to see that the learning process doesn’t end when the classroom portion is over.

How about changing the way you think and bring this tool of online collaboration into your classroom? The following reviews three free apps that you can use to get your EMS students working, and more importantly, learning together from subject matter experts around the world. Although these apps may have a charge for the top of the line forms of these products, all of them are free to use at a basic level.


Flowboard is an app that allows you to make and deliver presentations directly from your iPad. Flowboard presentations get away from the one sided limitation of Power Point and allows the student to explore their creative and interactive side. When you are ready to deliver your presentation, it feels like you are using a mobile tool to deliver your ideas. Students with a creative bent can develop their own template or choose from one that is stock. . Flowboard allows you to easily manipulate images and video.


Google Drive
Google Drive used to be known as Google Docs. Google’s free online document creation and editing app is widely used by educators that want to collaborate with students, colleagues, and other. This can occur synchronously or asynchronously. Any student or groups of students can be granted editing rights. This allows them to make and track changes to the document. They are also able to see previous changes made by other participants.


Join Me
Join Me is a screen sharing tool that enables instructors to share their computer desktop with others that they choose. The free version will allow up to 10 participants (including the originator of the broadcast) and includes such features as screen sharing, Internet calling, chat as well as several others. Join Me is designed to be easy to use and allows access to tools that you’ll use every day for everything from formal presentations to online tutoring of struggling students.

What other types of collaboration tools have you used?

Flip Your World With Knowmia Teach!

Knowmia Teach is a recording tool for educators who might be interested in “flipping” their classroom, but who don’t want to drop down a chunk of change for other more expensive screen casting software. The instructor is able to create a short video lesson and then publish it on the Knowmia website so that their students (and others) have access to them. It is really quite simple to add graphics and organize your presentation much like Powerpoint ®. Your picture and voice are recorded as you use your hand as the stylus.

An example of how this could be used in the EMS classroom can be found at this excellent presentation on the Tetrology of Fallot


Some of the features include:
• Build your lesson out of individual steps (like slides) so it’s easy to manage and organize – each step is a separate whiteboard
• Record everything that you do as well as your voice and video to create the lesson step-by-step
• Capture your face in the video as you narrate the steps
• Import images, graphics or video clips from the iPad’s media library and built-in camera – or paste in any image of your own
• Select from a wide range of background options
• Make it easy for others to find your lesson by including tags that you choose yourself

If you have been wanting to experiment with the flipped classroom, Knowmia Teach might be just the ticket.

Your Next Students Assignment Might Come “Mission Impossible” Style

If you are a person of a “certain age”, you might remember the Mission Impossible series. No, not the one with Tom Cruise but the one with Peter Graves. The Impossible Missions Force (IMF), a small team of secret agents used for covert missions against ruthless, evil leader; evil organizations and big crime bosses .At the beginning of each show, the assignment was always presented with a creative tape recording that outlined the details. At the end of it, the “tape will self-destruct in five seconds” ending in a puff of smoke. What if you could make a progressive assignment for your students that incorporated elements of Mission Impossible and The Amazing Race.

Set up your outgoing voicemail message for learners to call in and listen to as a part of an activity. Wondering how you might use this? Here an example: the message could be a scenario, provide clues that learners need to use to solve a puzzle, or address a series of questions as part of an activity.

Now, I fully understand that the last thing you want is for your phone to be ringing at all hours of the day. No problem. Google Voice grants you access to a single phone number that, if desired, rings all of your phones, saves your voicemail online, and transcribes your voicemail to text. It can also be set so that no calls are forwarded to any of your phones. The cool thing is the Google Voice is free. Give this a try today…and don’t forget “As always, should you or any of your I.M. Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.”1

1. White, Patrick J (1991), The Complete Mission: Impossible Dossier, New York: Avon Books.

If I Only Had A Brain! Now, You Do!!!

3D Brain is a very useful application that allows the student to view up to 29 regions of the human brain. The app allows the student to rotate the image up and down and from left to right while viewing the image from almost every possible angle.


When desired, it is possible to get more information on the particular region of the brain that you are viewing. This includes a brief case study as well as some of the functions of the particular area. In addition, 3D Brain includes links to related medical articles that shed more light on what the current brain view is.


By using your finger to drag across the screen, the instructor can rotate the image, displaying different regions of brain tissue. It is also possible to expand or shrink the diagram so as to gain a better view. EMT’s and paramedic students would benefit greatly from the use of the 3D Brain App for study. This is an excellent application for the classroom or lab that goes beyond the hand held model to give an, almost, MRI quality view of the brain.


The 3D Brain app was developed by a non-profit organization called Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. At the time of the publishing of this blog, the app was available at no cost.

Infogram For Mr. Smith!! Infogram For Mr. Smith!!

Wikipedia describes an infographic as a visual image such as a chart or diagram used to represent information or data. In other words, a picture is worth a thousand words. Infographics make it easier to digest a large amount of information in a short period of time. Developing a very high quality infographic makes it more than thirty times likely that your student will read the material than if in text form alone.1 For an excellent example of an EMS related infographic take a look at the one below based upon stroke symptoms.

stroke 1

Inforgram is an excellent website to easily develop quality infographics. This web based software provides templates, designs as well as other tools to research and develop professional and interesting looking charts and infographics. You can set up an independent account or log in from your Facebook site. The values that you embed within the infographic can be accessed from an Excel file or from the build in spreadsheet.

infographic 2 infographics can include videos and maps along with pictures and text. Your projects can be embedded into your blog, website, or wiki.


Educator Methodology Webinar: Powerful Presentations: Delivering Effective Communications, Comprehension and Calls to Action

Earn an hour of CECBEMS approved educator CE while asking talented conference presenter Rom Duckworth for his best presentation techniques and tips.
Thursday, December 12, 2013 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET

Get In Cahoots With Kahoot!

The ability to deliver online quizzes and review assignments is an important one. However, for the EMS educator on a budget, it might as well be impossible. Kahoot is a quiz creation site that works on any device your students might have. With it, you are able to develop and execute quizzes that students, as long as they have web access, can answer.
kahoot 00
The question format is multiple choice. It’s actually pretty easy to set up your exam, add the distractors (wrong answer) and select the right one. The pretty cool thing is that you can add an image or video to your questions such as heart or lung and incorporate that image with your question.
kahoot 1
Once the educator has completed the exam, it is launched. As the students log into the website for it, they are given directions on how to access your test. All they have to do is enter a PIN number and their name and they are ready to test. Kahoot is a little different than online exam makers as the questions don’t actually appear on the student’s computer or phone. The questions are displayed on the teacher’s device and only the answers are on the students.
Each of the possible answers are color coded as well as having a symbol assigned to it. A time limit can be set by the teacher and, as an added bonus, students can get more points by correctly choosing the right answer quickly. After the time has expired for each question, the number of students who have selected each answer is displayed. If so desired, it can be made into a contest with the educator showing a leaderboard for the out front team.
kahoot 3
Kahoot is a great tool for turning simple multiple choice questions into a competitive game that could be either team or individual based.

Medrills…Take Patient Simulation Home With You

Medrill 2

Medrills is an incredible set of apps for iOS and Android systems that incorporate simulation on “small” scale. The problem with most simulation programs is that they require massive amounts of space, money and skill. Medrills allows you to experience patient care simulation in the comfort of your own home. Their applications are designed to be simple to use while providing the information from a virtual patient to enhance learning.

Medrill 1

What skills does Medrills cover?
Obtaining IV Access / Initiate IV / Manage IV
– Cricothyroidotomy (Cricothyrotomy)
– Medication Port
– NCD for Pneumothorax
– Hemorrhage Control / Hemostatic Dressing
– Administering Medicine
– Suctioning Airway
– Performing CPR
– Airway Management
– Triage
– Administer Oxygen
– Hypovolemic Shock
– Fracture
– Spinal Cord Injury
– Saline Lock
– Control Bleeding
– Pressure Dressing
– Tourniquet
– Administering Morphine

Medrill 3

Key concepts of EMS are emphasized along the way. This app will allow you to experience the steps needed to execute with each high risk medical procedure thus strengthening its place in your memory. In addition, it is possible to earn continuing education credit that is CECBEMS accredited while using the application. Medrills is an excellent way to view and experience the thrill of new EMS skills