Training: Use a group messaging app to assign articles for discussion

Engage students with an active learning process that connects their coursework with real-world events and the profession they are entering

This feature is part of our Paramedic Chief Digital Edition, a regular supplement to that brings a sharpened focus to some of the most challenging topics facing paramedic chiefs and EMS leaders everywhere. To read all of the articles included in the Spring 2016 issue, click here.

By Bruce Chew

Most students in my EMT courses are kinesthetic learners and need to apply the knowledge from their lessons in a practical manner to achieve meaningful understanding. Relating the information in their textbooks and lectures to the world around them is important in helping them make connections and develop critical thinking abilities.

I use the Remind app's group messaging function to send links to articles from and other sources to students outside of regular class hours.

(Photo/Remind App)
(Photo/Remind App)

By developing questions and discussion prompts based on the articles sent to students using the Remind system, I am able to create dynamic review sessions at the beginning of each class that move beyond simple rote memory recall and engage the students through critical thinking activity. Sending the links and having students read the articles outside of normal class hours also helps me ensure that students are being immersed in the material even when not in the classroom, which helps to improve study habits and overall performance.

I recently used the EMS1 article "Reality Training: Patient packaging for nursing home to home transport" after teaching lessons about patient advocacy and patient packaging. The students were able to identify key concerns and corrective actions they would take if they were in this situation.

We also used the article "Study: Medics assaulted more often than firefighters" following class units on research in EMS and workforce safety. The students were able to see how providers can be a part of the research process and how the results can be used to create change. It also led to lengthy discussion about personal safety as an EMS provider.

Engage students with active learning
As EMS educators, we should be constantly trying to convert lessons into active learning events and finding ways to promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation of classroom and textbook content. Active learning events are not limited to practical skill sessions with high-fidelity simulations.

Using the Remind app and online content is a great method to enable the students to connect their lessons to real-life, current events. The students are informed during course orientation that they will receive articles and other messages using the Remind app, and they are instructed to read the articles, think about how the article relates to class topics and then be prepared to discuss the article in class. As an educator I can directly reference the article when asking guiding questions to steer the discussion. This method allows me to teach the EMT curriculum in a more dynamic way and give the students the opportunity to use their critical thinking and reasoning skills. 

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