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MDC Physical Therapy Assistant Students Trade Laptops for iPods

MDC Physical Therapy Assistant Students

MDC student in the Physical Thearpy Assistant Program now have knowledge at their fingertips.

Miami, January 20, 2009 - Normally, a class full of students distracted by their cell phones or iPods would be a bad thing, but those involved with the Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA) Program at Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Medical Center Campus are actually excited about it. Following a growing trend in education, which has seen fewer laptops and more pocket-sized devices in classes, the program recently launched a pilot that provided either an iPod Touch or iPhone to each of the 50 students in its PTA program. 

According to Dr. Mark Nestor, Medical Center Campus chief information officer, the decision to purchase the mobile devices was not just about trends.

“The goal for this technology was to allow students to have access to all of their lectures after class so they can spend more class time concentrating on the instruction rather than taking volumes of notes,” Nestor said.

New technologies include lecture capture, learning objects, a student response system, mobile reference materials, and a new breed of educational software that is now available through an online store know as the “App Store.” The App Store is built into both the iPod Touch and the iPhone, and allows students to download the software directly without a computer.

Lecture Capture is software that allows faculty to record their instruction during class, and upload the file to the Internet and make it available for student to watch within minutes. The result is a file that includes instructor video and PowerPoint presentations, and is fully indexed and searchable. 

In addition to providing recorded lectures, the faculty in the program also recorded as series of learning object videos that demonstrate the proper application of physical therapy.

“The students can see these videos before they even set foot in a lab,” said Beatriz Melendez, PTA professor. “And they can watch them as many times as they need in order to make sure they are utilizing the proper technique.”

Both the lectures and the learning objects are available to the students for download via the College’s iTunes U site, allowing students to manipulate images, test their knowledge with interactive quizzes and easily look up additional information. This way, they have everything they need right in their pockets.

“Imagine a student in a clinical setting, having this application, having an electronic dictionary, having the Epocratesdrug guide, all in one device – it’s just a wonderful resource and a tremendous advantage for our students,” said Marlene Carmona, PTA professor. 

The pilot will continue through the end of the year. Nestor said there are plans for a formal evaluation in the fall, with hopes that other programs at the Medical Campus will adopt the devices.

For more information, please contact Dr. Mark H. Nestor at 305-237-4452, or

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist

Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
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