This week saw the launch of MEIN – Medical Education Innovation Network, with a half-day conference at the Institute for Development Sciences at University Hospital Southampton. The conference brought together health professionals, educators and students to discuss the future of medical education, the importance of innovation and to find out about some of the projects that are leading the way.
The opening keynote by recently appointed National Teaching Fellow Prof. David Read who talked about his own journey from educator to reflective practitioner and (almost) researcher in education. David begins a secondment to the School of Education’s Centre for Higher Education Practice, where he will be working with colleagues to support them on their own journey in teaching and learning. Key to his talk was the use of interactive ways to engage the student in the lecture and whilst recognising that the lecture was still very much in use as a delivery method, encouraged us to think differently about how recording lectures and use of in-class polling could enhance the experience for the student.
The second part of the conference was a series of short 5-minute talks from a range of people, on a range of topics, from MOOCs and the potential of online learning, the use of podcasts in education, student-led video, placement and employability, links to resources and other networks, all ways to support students and educators in their work and practice. The format worked well and the audience was left with a long list of links and references to seek out, the central theme of innovation re-enforced throughout.
Finally, the panel discussion looked at innovation, seeking to find answers to what innovation truly looks like and how new technologies and new approaches should embed themselves within practice. The panel expressed a range of views, thinking about whether innovation always moved around the adoption of new technology, whether the pedagogy was best served by innovation and whether we had time and resources to adopt new approaches and ways of thinking.
This conference certainly left us wanting more, it was impressive to see students at the forefront of many new projects, including Nadine Abbas from NotjustaMedStudent and Callum Taylor from The Connect Project. It’s as one of the panels said that we have no choice but to innovate, but it is encouraging that innovation will be challenged, discussed and debated to ensure that it serves the needs of future generations of health professionals.