“Technology Can Flatten the World”

By Sian Claire Owen

During the closing session of the 2nd International Conference on Virtual Patients and MedBiquitous Annual Meeting, Dr Bas de Leng from Maastricht University in The Netherlands shared his thoughts on the week’s events.

The influences of new technology have many advantages and disadvantages, stated Dr de Leng. “To begin with the negative side, technology can be disruptive,” he said. However, the pros of new technologies such as virtual patients outweigh the cons. “I look at virtual patients and I see many positive things,” he explained.

“Firstly they enable linking, the weaving together of fragmented e-learning tools as Terry Poulton previously mentioned.”

“And it is the same for the Unitary Programme for Lifelong Learning which Ronald Harden pointed out. It’s all about linking different activities to a consistent home,” he added.

“And the same holds when it comes to development of education,” he said. “It comes to the multidisciplinary teams, and for this ‘step into the intersection’ as Ronald calls it, we need studies.”

Dr de Leng also described how linking can bring learners and educators out of isolation, “so the teacher can’t hide as a single, but must operate in the whole,” he said.

He then went on to outline his thoughts on the ICVP 2010 and MedBiquitous Annual Meeting Un-Conference. One of the presenters stated that ‘Technology can flatten the world,” and Dr de Leng agrees.

“Technology infrastructures can help developing countries enable local people develop their own community-based medical care and education without the risk of brain drain,” he said.

“And as Peter Greene said, it can bring learning to the point of care, and I think this is a really good point of the technology.”

Read Part Two and Part Three of the ICVP 2010 & MedBiquitous Annual Meeting closing sessions.

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