Dental software provides tools for both professors and students

November 25th, 2014


Technology has become a major part of the way students learn. If they don't see something on a screen, then oftentimes it can seem old-fashioned. People have become so adept at using technology that going into a library and thumbing through books to study something like dental care or oral hygiene can be too much of a burden. Because the barrier to entry is so high, many students would rather not study than do so using cumbersome tools. This may be a surprise for professors, who were raised to believe that books were king, but technology has been making leaps and bounds, and rather than hurting students, this is helping them to learn more than ever. Many programs have come into existence, for example, that let students graduate at an advanced pace – and the tools being used are simply the ordinary educational software available to anyone.

Learning how to do research
Dental academic software is revolutionizing what students can do in a classroom. According to Chalkbeat Colorado, an educational website, students can learn very quickly by using technology. Additionally, it is such a major part of life that leaving it out of the educational experience is going to deprive them of one avenue that information travels down.

"Technology is a very real and significant part of modern life, and as such it should be included in the tools that our students learn to use effectively," said Laurie Seiler, an advocate at Touchstone Health Partners. "They should also know how to use a phone book, look up a word in the dictionary, or use a map (for example) for times when the computer system is down for one reason or another.  Our students need both common sense knowledge and experience, as well as technology knowledge and experience, just as they will need both in the workplace and in 'real life.'"

In other words, it is fine to teach students how to do paper research, but professors must recognize that this is not how research is conducted in the profession any longer. Although older textbooks may be of value to students of history looking for primary source documents, there is a major difference between something like that and a living science like dentistry. Journals are being published online and can be read by many more people than their paper equivalents. Students need to learn how to research and adapt to the digitized landscape of dental study.

To teach this in the classroom, the best method is probably to give students research assignments. This will allow them the chance to pursue an area of dental theory they want to learn about and also help them find out about their dental and hygiene academic software.

Tools for the professor
According to The Globe and Mail, educational software is useful for the professor as well. Many forms of this technology provide insights into what students are reading on their devices. This allows professors to customize their coursework in a very dynamic way. Students can learn from multiple platforms and have not only a hardcover book, but also a smart phone, which can fit into their pocket and be available anywhere they want to study. According to Dr. Jill Scott, professors are beginning to organize their courses in order to include Web portions along with textbook reading and in-class discussion. This way, there are many different learning tools available for people who learn in many different ways. The visual learners will benefit from pictures, while people who need to study will still have text, either from their dental software or inside the hardcover book. Professors can shape their class time to focus on discussion and guided study of specific cases.

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