I recently encountered a thought-provoking video about how technology is transforming education in the classroom setting. We are slowly experiencing a culture shift in how learners are learning. It follows that this should affect how teachers should be teaching. Briefly, the author lays out the progression of educational technology in 3 phases.

Phase 1: Using Technology to Present Dynamic Lessons

  • Prime example: Powerpoint presentations
  • Generally passive learning
  • Learners are consumers of information

Phase 2 – Using Technology to Access Information

  • Learners search online for answers to questions
  • More active learning

Phase 3 – Using Technology to Produce and Share Products

  • Learners move towards becoming producers of information and engage a larger audience
  • Creators of information
  • Classic example of Web 2.0 learning

Looking at my own experiences when I was a medical student and EM resident, my learning environment was clearly in Phase I. Lots of powerpoint presentations in sleepy, dimly-lit rooms with the lecturer being the only voice in the room. Currently, in our new EM residency program, I’m starting to see evidence of Phase II. Journal club sessions sometimes utilize real-time online searches to find answers to methodology questions.

After watching the below inspirational and thought-provoking video, I’m committed to incorporating some Phase II/Phase III approaches to my “lectures” in the future. The first quote really hits home:

A teacher that can be replaced by technology deserves to be.”
– David Thornburg

I have a lecture this coming Thursday on “Troubleshooting the Vascular Access Patient”. I’m re-tooling the talk to make it a more interactive session. I’ll let you know how it goes. There’s less control (from a speaker’s perspective) when venturing outside of the Phase I format, which makes me a little uncomfortable, and so I’m crossing my fingers that it will turn out ok… I’ve got a few things up my sleeve though.

Question: In what Phase is your teaching or learning experience?

Michelle Lin, MD
ALiEM Founder and CEO
Professor and Digital Innovation Lab Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Michelle Lin, MD


Professor of Emerg Med at UCSF-Zuckerberg SF General. ALiEM Founder @aliemteam #PostitPearls at https://t.co/50EapJORCa Bio: https://t.co/7v7cgJqNEn
Michelle Lin, MD