Avoid A Fate Worse Than Waterboarding!

PowerPoint can cause a slow painful death!


When your student sees this slide as the opening slide, that is his signal to


Dodge (Bullet) City



Don’t forget to spell check before you present!


Objects on the screen can be excellent, but just make sure that you don’t over do it!
Otherwise your students end up


So…how do we fix it?

Sometimes the best slides have no _ _ _ _ _ at all…just



Try something radical and give your presentation
Give your next lecture old school…without PowerPoint!


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.

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

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

1. http://www.pr2020.com/blog/the-case-for-content-marketing

Catch Me If You Can: Minimizing Cheating in the Classroom. Part 2 of 2

In the last post, I broke the painful news that your students are going to cheat. This is not a new phenomenon, but what can the educator do to eliminate it? The bad news is…nothing. It is impossible to eliminate cheating, but you can make it more difficult for the cheaters to be successful. Minimizing the opportunity is the best that we can hope for.

One of the most important strategies is to set out expectations for honesty in your class from the start. Can the students collaborate on homework assignments? Is it acceptable to use old exams to study from? In the same vein, be very explicit in your syllabus as to the penalties for cheating and be prepared to deliver on them. More on this in a moment.

Reduce the temptation to cheat. Demonstrate that you care about academic integrity by your actions. Many teachers may believe that their lack of oversight during test sessions signifies respect towards the honest of their students; Cizek noted that it actually increases cheating. In addition this irritates students who expect teachers to monitor the testing environment and are discouraged if teachers are ignoring classmates’ obvious cheating. Resist the urge to sit up front and work on other items during the exam. Movement and observation from the back of the class improves the motivation of students to maintain honesty exponentially. Have your students turn off and place all cellphones on a desk at the front of the class. All backpacks should be placed in a separate area of the class or placed behind the student’s desk. Doing so will make it more difficult for the student to peer into them.

Utilize high level, critical thinking types of questions. Most of the information that students bring with them consists of items that are easily memorized. Early on, the instructor should develop and deliver questions at the application and analysis level of Blooms. Educators should become well versed in the development and interpretation of test item development. Using test banks from publisher, verbatim, should be viewed as a mortal sin as most are written at the knowledge level. In addition to critical thinking items on the test, exams should be timed. Doing so will make it more difficult for students to search for the multiple bits of information to make a decision on their selected answer.

Randomize your test items as well as choices. This does not mean that you must have multiple versions of the exam for a particular class, but having, not only the questions in random order but the item responses as well will give the appearance of multiple test versions.

Have an open and honest discussion as to the importance of academic honesty, especially as related to the emergency care of patients. Stress that not being able to formulate a plan of care due to failure of the students to become competent EMS providers could have an adverse effect, not only on the patient but upon their own career as well. With the easy access of litigation in America today a lawsuit due to their inability to provide the standard of care due a patient, could be costly, both personally and professionally.

In the event of a cheating event, deal with it expeditiously. Obviously, you must follow the regulations set out by your facility, but it is imperative that the issue be dealt with. It is true that the issue must be handled in a confidential manner, but the informal class grapevine will broadcast the message without any school officials violating policy. An educator who becomes known as someone who does not address cheating in the class becomes as guilty as the student who cheats.

Cizek, G. J. (1999). Cheating on tests: How to do it, detect it, and prevent it. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.