By Wendy Sarubbi | June 25, 2012 2:01 pm

Medical librarians need to join the technology discussion or be left behind. That’s the challenge Nadine Dexter, director of the College of Medicine’s Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Sciences Library delivered to delegates at the Florida Health Sciences Library Association (FHSLA) convention in Orlando. She delivered the keynote address on “Emerging Technologies in Medical Libraries” at the June 8 session.

“The Internet challenges us to rethink how we learn and how we communicate,” Nadine said.

She focused on six technologies:

  • Mobile apps. These software applications allow users to customize mobile devices economically through a wide range of choices.  According to the “New Media Consortium Horizon Report:  2012 Higher Education Edition,” more than 18 billion apps were downloaded in the Apple marketplace by October 2011.
  • Tablet computers. Tablets are popular because of their portability, large display and touchscreens, according to the “Horizon Report.” A recent study from the Internet analytics company comScore found that the iPad accounts for 97 percent of all tablet-based Web traffic in the United States.
  • Learning analytics. This allows schools to shape a student’s learning experience through the analysis of complex data.
  • Game-based learning. Students have grown up in a world where digital games are an important part of their lives. Game-based learning teaches collaboration, problem solving, communication, critical thinking and digital literacy, according to the “Horizon Report.”
  • Internet of things. This concept involves tagging just about everything with a chip, or smart sensor, to monitor and keep records about the object. Look for it in everything from tracking inventory control to checking classroom attendance through student IDs to controlling temperatures of an office building.
  • Gesture-based computing. This has changed how users interact with computers, both physically and mechanically. Examples include the touchscreens of the iPad or gaming systems such as Xbox Kinect and Nintendo Wii.

The UCF Health Sciences Library has led the way in digital development. With a library collection that is 98 percent digital, faculty, staff and students can engage in interactive learning anytime, anywhere and on any device. They can take advantage of a range of services, from iPads that broadcast normal and irregular heart sounds to software that allows students to test themselves.

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