iPads for All!

I came to UIC College of Medicine in late 2013 and had just left a short stint at Rush University as the Director of the McCormick Educational Technology Center (METC). In that role, I had worked on a large project to get iPads to incoming medical students. As with any large project, there are a lot of lessons learned. When the college at UIC started talking about this as well, I was able to bring a lot of ‘what not to do’ issues.

The biggest issue: We neglected to give any faculty members an iPad so while we were directing the students how to use it, the faculty really had no idea how to use these tools – so that was a minor failure.

We had numerous meetings here at the college about potentially doing a similar project, but after numerous meetings with Apple, it never got off the ground.


I was able to convince the administration that purchasing iPads for faculty is a great idea – we did a pilot with a few faculty members and it was successful. For the anatomy faculty, we purchased iPad Pro’s with Apple Pencil. The reason for this, is there are some fantastic apps for anatomy that use the 3-D functionality on the iPad pretty well. An example is Complete Anatomy. You can “draw” spurs on bones and the harder you press, the larger the spur. Pretty cool. I just don’t want them for real.

Next steps – work with administration to get more iPads for other faculty so they can use for teaching. We have Apple TV’s in most of our lecture / active learning sessions, and I’ve been working with the faculty to step away from the lectern – and roam around the room displaying their content via the monitors in the room. When the faculty do it, they end up loving it.

This gets into a bigger topic for another time – technology adoption, and barriers to adoption!

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