Friday, January 30, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Medical Technology Blog of Interest

A Checklist for Designing Online Lectures and Instructional Materials

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Medical Technology Blog of Interest

The Science Roll - A Medical Students Journey inside genetics and medicine through Web2.0

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Share PowerPoints with SlideShare

SlideShare is a free service that allows you to share PowerPoint presentations on the web. You can upload PowerPoint presentations as is, or add audio to them. By adding "tags" or keywords to the presentation, others will be able to discover your presentations. (You will want to be sure there is no copyrighted material in your presentation before uploading).

You can also use SlideShare to discover presentations by others in your field. For instance, if you search on "Physiology" you will get over 800 results.

Have you used SlideShare to share presentations, or discovered some useful presentations available at that site? If so, please comment!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Create Short Tutorials Easily for Free with Jing

Have you tried Camtasia or Captivate and found them too difficult to use? If so, you may wish to look at a free tool called Jing. Jing was created by the same company that makes Camtasia and SnagIt.

With Jing, you can create a "screencast" video showing anything on your computer. The Jing website describes the process this way, "Select a window or region and Jing will record a video of everything that appears in that area. Point to things with your mouse, scroll, flip through photos, click around in a website or application...Jing captures it all."

You can add audio as well as capturing anything you would like to show on your computer. The screencasts are in Flash format, so viewers can see the screencast directly from Flash enabled browers.

The company recently released a new version called Jing Pro, which costs $14.95 a year. Jing Pro has the added advantage of uploading your screencasts directly to YouTube.

For more information, see the Jing website at Jing is very easy to use, but the website also has tutorials available for getting started quickly: see

If you try Jing, please comment here on your experiences. If you used Jing successfully to build a screencast, please post a link to it!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Starting with Video Clips for Educational Presentations

The idea behind this Tech Corner blog is to introduce educational tech methods we have found useful. I am starting with video clips or animations since I would like others to try these teaching tools with less effort than I needed to get started (please skip it if you do this already). Needless to say, in this age of YouTube, video clips can get students interested, and often, if done well, can show dynamic processes more clearly than words or still images alone. I have a previous article in the JIAMSE (2005) on making and using a longer clinical case video in neurobiology and am submitting another article on brief animations and video clips inserted into MS PowerPoint slides.

An easy illustration is inserting the interactive animation "Steroid Hormones in Circulation" in a presentation on endocrine physiology, pharmacology, or biochemistry, at the address on your browser. This animation shows endocrine cells secreting steroid hormones which then bind to various plasma proteins, with information on bound and free hormone concentrations on the screen. You can start with a shape on the PowerPoint slide, then use the Insert menu to insert a "Hyperlink" into the shape, and paste into the Hyperlink information screen the address to that animation running on your browser. Now when you View the slide show and that slide is displayed, clicking on the shape will display the animation.

Another good example is the "Hyperheart" animation of the cardiac cycle (like the previous example, this is found on the Project HEAL web site, from the University of Utah). It can be inserted via a Hyperlink also, with the address This widely-reproduced animation by Dr. Don Blumenthal and the Knowledge Weavers at the University of Utah shows shows ventricular and atrial pressures and EKGs synchronized to movements of heart chambers and valves.

My preference is to show a still picture excerpted from the animation with labels-- Left Atrium, Left Ventricle, etcetera--and describe to the students what they are going to see to set the stage for the animation, in which there is a lot more going on. The Hyperlink can be inserted within the the picture of the heart or other object, so that clicking on it starts the animation.

If you have animations or video clip files in .mpg format the process is more direct since they can be inserted or linked to an image in the slide without running a web site on the browser, as long as the file is in the same folder as the PowerPoint presentation. A good example is a video clip from the web site "Introduction to Cochlear Micromechanics”, by Dennis Freeman of MIT, with the link This shows animations and micro-videos of cochlear hair cell movement in response to sound. When you create the PowerPoint slides, you can copy and paste a photo of hair cell stereocilia from the web site, use the Insert menu to Insert > Movies and Sounds > Movies from File, and paste in the file name of the video. Remember that the video file needs to be saved in the same folder as the PowerPoint presentation. During the slide show, clicking on the image shows the stereocilia pivoting and opening ion channels to provide a great illustration of physiological processes in hearing on the microscopic level.

Have you used video clips and animations in basic science teaching? What do you recommend as best practices or problem areas? Sharing your experiences could help your colleagues with this powerful teaching tool.

Welcome to the IAMSE Technology Corner!

Keep an eye on this blog for many exciting resources ....