Social Media in Medical Education

Social media could be of great use in higher education by creating a dynamic environment in the classroom. Social media has been used as a teaching instrument by educators in diverse institutions and a wide variate of subjects.

For instance, professors George and Dellasega, from the Penn State Hersey College of Medicine in Hershey, USA, developed two graduate-level medical humanities education classes, in which Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Skype and Facebook were regularly used as educational tools.

The first course, Creative Writing for Medicine, used Twitter to share writing prompts from the instructor, students were able to expand their thoughts about the prompt in a class-wide shared blog. At the end of the class students were asked to summarize some of their thoughts in a letter, to teach how to capture ideas online to transfer them in paper. Skype was also used in this class to allow student interaction with the author of a book.

The second course, The Narratives if Aging: Exploring Creative Approaches to Dementia Care, used YouTube to expose students to different cultural perceptions of Alzheimer’s disease. YouTube allowed students to see people with dementia engaging in therapeutical psychosocial activities. Moreover, students visited assisted living facilities and interacted with residents and staff. Students took pictures during their visits. The final project for the class involved the use of Flickr to create a scrapbook that was shared with the class and residents.

For more detailed information refer to: George and Dellasega. 2011. Use of social media in graduate-level medical humanities education: Two pilot studies from Penn State College of Medicine. Medical teacher, 33: e429-434.  DOI: 10.3109/0142159X.2011.586749