Diffusion of innovations: Smartphones and wireless anatomy learning resources

Authors

  • Robert B. Trelease

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UCLA Center for the Health Sciences, Los Angeles, California
    • Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UCLA Center for the Health Sciences, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

The author has previously reported on principles of diffusion of innovations, the processes by which new technologies become popularly adopted, specifically in relation to anatomy and education. In presentations on adopting handheld computers [personal digital assistants (PDAs)] and personal media players for health sciences education, particular attention has been directed to the anticipated integration of PDA functions into popular cellular telephones. However, limited distribution of early “smartphones” (e.g., Palm Treo and Blackberry) has provided few potential users for anatomical learning resources. In contrast, iPod media players have been self-adopted by millions of students, and “podcasting” has become a popular medium for distributing educational media content. The recently introduced Apple iPhone has combined smartphone and higher resolution media player capabilities. The author successfully tested the iPhone and the “work alike” iPod touch wireless media player with text-based “flashcard” resources, existing PDF educational documents, 3D clinical imaging data, lecture “podcasts,” and clinical procedure video. These touch-interfaced, mobile computing devices represent just the first of a new generation providing practical, scalable wireless Web access with enhanced multimedia capabilities. With widespread student self-adoption of such new personal technology, educators can look forward to increasing portability of well-designed, multiplatform “learn anywhere” resources. Anat Sci Ed 1:233–239, 2008. © 2008 American Association of Anatomists.

Ancillary