Rolla Technical Center students working to become surgical technicians have started using iPads and electronic textbooks in a pilot program that was explained Thursday night to the Rolla Board of Education.
Surgical technology program director Nicole Claussen and clinical director Jennifer Wall told board members 18 students enrolled in the program have funded the teacher-led pilot program themselves by buying their own iPads and electronic textbooks.
Because the devices are theirs, bought with student loan proceeds, they will take the devices with them when they graduate. They utilize the Rolla Public Schools Internet network when they’re on school property.
Students also downloaded 23 free applications to use in their studies, and the two directors mentioned the features of several of the apps.
The Kno app is particularly useful, for it works with the electronic textbooks, allowing the students to highlight passages in the books, just as they would with a paper text. Also, they can add notes to the electronic text.
Those highlights and a student’s own notes go into a file called “my journal,” which the student can use to make his or her own study guide.
There are other features in the Kno app such as a “quiz me” program and a search program. And the flashcards feature helps the student build a surgical technology vocabulary.
There’s another separate Flashcard app that students use to learn the differences in the equipment, tools and implements used in surgery.
Another app, titled TouchSurgery, helps familiarize the students with surgical procedures, even performing a surgery on screen.
“I’m amazed,” board member Jane Haskell said following the two directors’ presentation.
Claussen and Wall also noted that they had surveyed the students and found that even those who were not at all familiar with iPad operation quickly adapted and learned.
The students have only two printed textbooks. All other books are in their iPad, making it much easier to carry the texts.
The two directors will make a presentation about the technology pilot program at the National Association of Surgical Technologists conference in May 2014 in Denver.
The surgical technology program is an 11-month program, starting each August.
Up to 20 students are admitted to it annually, following a rigorous application process. Preferably, they have college-level anatomy and physiology classes completed before admission.
Most graduates find employment in Springfield, Mo., and St. Louis.
In other business or discussion:
• Superintendent of Schools Dr. Aaron Zalis led a discussion on the possibility of an early childhood center.
• Board President Jim Packard presented a board award to Robert Studdard, cabinet-making instructor at Rolla Technical Institute, for receiving he Missouri Central District industrial Technology and Engineering Teacher of the Year award.
Page 2 of 2 - • The board noted the October board meetings will be Oct. 10 and 24.
• In the consent agenda, the board approved support staff changes, bills for payment and the sale of obsolete and unusable property.