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?

Think Outside The Drop Box

If you are anything like me, you are not the most organized person in the world. I spend more time than I should be looking for things. See if you can identify with this scenario. You are ready to teach and you suddenly realize that the PowerPoint that was to go along with your lecture is on your desktop computer back at home. Bummer! Now, at least in one area of my life, I no longer have to look for computer files because I ALWAYS know where they are. That handy, dandy little tool is called Dropbox.

Dropbox was founded in 2007 by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, two MIT students tired of emailing files to themselves to work from more than one computer. Dropbox is a centralized, web based file storage system. It is a home for all of your files. When you upload a file to Dropbox, it will synchronize that file across ALL of your electronic devices as well as keeping a copy on a web based access point. The whole process is automatic and no computer skills are needed for files to update across your devices. That brings real comfort to those whose computers have been lost or damaged in travel or other nefarious methods. Dropbox works on both Windows and Mac based computers, tablets and phones.

A handy feature of Dropbox is that, not only will it store your files; it makes it easy to share and collaborate on projects with others. You simply either share the folder with others, making it public and allowing them access to that folder only or you can email a link to a particular file. You can create a shared file for any class that you might choose and share it with each student. When the need arises, you will now be able to drop files you want students to access easily from my desktop or any other device. When students use the Dropbox app on the iPads, they will be able to log in and access the files. They can edit the files and drop them into their personalized folders.

For a brief introduction to how Dropbox works visit this link.

How do you use Dropbox in the classroom? I’m glad you asked! Now, you have taken one more excuse for students not having their homework. Instead of delivering the assignment to the classroom, either in paper or electronic form, you simply require them to upload it to an assigned location on Dropbox. This won’t help those students who don’t actually get the work done, but it will be of benefit to those who really do have memory problems! In addition, for those assignments that have a deadline, the upload of documents imprints a date and time stamp on the file. No more arguing over whether a student was late with their submission or not.

Another use is the storage of handouts, worksheets and other storage guides. If a student loses their assigned work or if the dog ate it (remind me to tell you of the time my dog ate my Master’s thesis…while it was still in the computer), they can log on find the file and download or print it off for themselves. The savings in paper used in your classroom could be enormous.

Many students want the Powerpoints to follow during the lecture. There are pros and cons to this, but that is another day’s presentation. Most Powerpoints are too large to email due to constraints placed upon school’s email systems. Dropbox resolves this problem in that you can email the link to the students and they will now be able to download the Powerpoints themselves. Isn’t personal responsibility liberating!