Developing a Educational Technology Plan For Your EMS Education Delivery


Some adult educators may oppose the use of technology plans as a means to better learning. They may argue that such plans shift the focus of education from the content of the information conveyed to the means of delivery (hardware, software, and networks).
Other educators may believe that the support system may lack the technical knowledge and experience needed to create effective technology plans. They may think that the professional development time and funding necessary to upgrade educators’ technology skills could be better spent on learning more about content areas and teaching strategies.   With this said, I plan to take the approach that any mountain is worthy of climbing for the right reason.  That reason for me has always been student success!

OVERVIEW: Because technology continues to play an important role in modern industrial society, integrating technology into the adult education process will help prepare students to succeed in a rapidly changing world. “Technology is transforming society, and schools do not have a choice as to whether they will incorporate technology but rather how well they use it to enhance learning” (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory & Illinois State Board of Education, 1995).  To ensure that technology is effectively integrated, educators and community members must collaborate to create a formal technology plan.  To be successful, a technology plan must promote meaningful learning and collaboration, provide for the needed professional development and support, and respond flexibly to change.
ISSUE: To realize the benefits of technology, educators and schools must develop a plan for integrating technology into the curriculum. An effective technology plan is based on the shared vision of e administrators, educators, and local business people who have technological expertise. It ensures that technology strengthens existing curricula and supports meaningful, engaged learning for all students.

ACTION OPTIONS: The technology planning team and educators can take the following steps to develop, implement, and refine a school technology plan:

Ensure that the team is composed of representatives from all segments and stakeholders.  This may include, for example, administrators, educators, and local business people who have expertise in technology. Designate a team leader who is able to delegate responsibility to individuals or committees and keep the team on task.
Participate in the process of planning for technology in education by asking appropriate questions, such as: How can technology benefit all students?  How will the technology be used? How will technology affect the role of teachers?

The plan for integrating technology is based on the educational vision.
The technology plan aims to improve student learning, to help students perform authentic tasks, and to help students learn skills that will prepare them for future careers.
The technology plan is periodically reviewed and updated.
Evaluation plans are in place to ensure the technology plan generates the desired outcomes.

Educators and schools that effectively use technology have a carefully designed technology plan that is a part of the overall improvement plan.  A technology plan that is not integral to the overall improvement plan is likely to be short-lived (Cradler, 1996). As part of the school-improvement plan, technology should support the curricular goals of the school and the program. “Technology is neither an end in itself nor an add-on,” notes the Office of Educational Technology (1994c). “It is a tool for improving–and ultimately, transforming–teaching and learning.

Take a look at this short video that explains the student of today…

Students of Today







EMS Debate – ESCAPe Conference


I recently facilitated a debate on EMS topics at a Conference in West Virginia sponsored by RESA 1.  A couple of the topics debated were “Duty to Act” and “Social Networking related to the workplace”.  The participants were separated randomly into two groups.  One group choose a topic and the other had the opportunity to decide if they would support the PRO or CON side of the debate.

We used real-life situations that currently play out within the Prehospital environment.  As clear as it may seem when faced with the same situations, extenuating circumstances do weigh on our decision-making.

The Duty to Act situation debated was the one from Pittsburgh EMS in February 2010.  Specifics, or at least what the media is publishing, can be found at JEMS and the Pittsburgh News Paper.   Even after one year, the sides remain divided.  Take a look and form your own opinion.  Let us know your thoughts.  Should the Paramedic been fired?  Continue the conversation here.

A topic we did not have time to cover in depth was Integrity in Continuing Education took us up the East Coast to Massachusetts.  This is where 213 EMT’s were caught forging documents related to continuing education.  A graded reprimand was dealt out to those involved based on their level of involvement.  The accused forged documents stating the continuing education took place that never did.  Other EMT’s knowingly allowed their names to be placed on the rosters without ever attending the training.  Is this an isolated issue or is this a microcosm of a larger scale problem facing our industry?

What are your thoughts?  Was the disciple too aggressive? Not aggressive enough?

We would like to hear your thoughts.

Integrating Technology into your Curriculum: Can you count the reasons why…


It touches every part of our lives, our communities (ATM’s, touch screens at fast food, etc.) and even our homes (wireless home security, lighting, etc.).  Technology is ubiquitous.  Yet most EMS educational entities have a lag when it comes to integrating technology into learning. Many are just beginning to explore the true potential technology education offers for teaching and learning. Properly thought out and applied, technology will help students acquire the skills they need to survive in a complex, highly technological knowledge-based economy.

Integrating technology into your classroom instruction means more than teaching basic computer skills and software programs in a separate computer class. Effective technology education integration must happen across the entire curriculum in ways that research shows deepen and enrich the learning process.

Integrating technology must support four key components of learning:

  • Active Engagement – Active Engagement requires students to connect actively with their communities.
  • Participation in Groups
  • Frequent Interaction and Feedback – See FEEDBACK blog post.
  • Connection to Real-World Experts

Effective technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is routine and transparent and when technology supports the curricular goal

Learning through projects while equipped with technology tools allows students to be intellectually challenged while providing them with a realistic snapshot of what the modern office looks like. Through projects, students acquire and refine their analysis and problem-solving skills as they work individually and in teams to find, process, and synthesize information they’ve found online.

The myriad resources of the online world also provide each classroom with more interesting, diverse, and current learning materials. The World Wide Web connects students to experts in the real world and provides numerous opportunities for expressing understanding through images, sound, and text.  Using simple Skype technology is just one way to connect students to content experts in a classroom.

New technology tools for visualizing and modeling, especially in the sciences, such as simulation training, offer students ways to view results in graphic ways that aid in understanding. And, as an added benefit, with technology tools and a project-learning approach, students are more likely to stay engaged and on task.

Technology also changes the way we, as educators, educate, offering effective ways to reach different types of learners of different types of styles and assess student understanding through multiple means. It also enhances the relationship between educator and participant. When technology is effectively integrated into subject areas, teachers grow into roles of adviser, content expert, and coach. Technology helps make teaching and learning more meaningful and fun.

For more information or to speak with a specialist from our staff, contact us.

Are you using the “F” word enough?


Feedback is the “F” word I am referring.

Children look for feedback from Parents

Spouses look for feedback from Spouses

Students look for feedback from Instructors

Employees look for feedback from Employers

All of these relationships work in a reciprocal fashion.

We live and function in a way that is fueled by feedback. When it comes to motivating people to repeat productive behaviors or stop destructive ones, successful leaders understand that it’s not simply what you say, it’s how you say it! They also understand that productivity is connected to the relationship between the two parties. With that in mind, whether it’s positive or corrective feedback, effective leaders choose their words and timing carefully, they deliver the message and they make sure it is received, understood and creates motivation. You will have to identify the specific behaviors you want repeated and those you want stopped or altered.

Do your actions match up with your words?

Feedback shows someone the impact of their behavior, allowing them to change ineffective actions or continue doing things that help the team achieve its goals (Manager Tools 2005).

Different types of feedback (Adapted from Flemming and Levie.)

Type Example
Confirmation Your answer was incorrect.
Corrective Your answer was incorrect. The correct answer was Jefferson.
Explanatory Your answer was incorrect because Carter was from Georgia; only Jefferson called Virginia home.
Diagnostic Your answer was incorrect. Your choice of Carter suggests some extra instruction on the home states of past presidents might be helpful.
Elaborative Your answer, Jefferson, was correct. The University of Virginia, a campus rich with Jeffersonian architecture and writings, is sometimes referred to as “Mr. Jefferson’s University”.

Do you communicate in a manner that allows the other person to fully understand. Grasping the right words, approach, and delivery can make all of the difference in the world. Watch this short example of communicating…

I hope that after that short video you have a smile on your face.

Importance of developing feedback:

Honest, sincere and appropriate praise can prove to be as great an incentive to most people as monetary and other rewards. Feedback demonstrates that you care enough about people to tell them the truth and that you trust in them to accept the truth as part of self-development. Acknowledgment in the form of feedback is a powerful form of reward. Individuals welcome acknowledgment for who they are as much as for what they do. High achievers constantly seek feedback or ways to track their success. Studies have shown that individuals soon lose motivation and enthusiasm if they believe their leader does not care about their performance.

Developing a plan to provide feedback to your individual or group:

Feedback is about the behavior. Begin the feedback with a clear description of the behavior. This should be based on either observed facts or on reports by others of what the individual did or didn’t do correctly. An example: “You were supposed to report to your assignment at 2:45 today. You were more than 30 minutes late.” This factual description is the key that completely avoids any conclusion about the motives or mental state of the individual — it simply states the behavior and that was unsatisfactory.

Next, explain the negative impact of their behavior. For example, “Other people are forced to cover for you when you do not show up on time; in turn taking them away from their work and assignments.”

“What can we do to make sure that you are able to meet your commitment?” This is one way to ask for help in resolving the problem.

Having written policies and procedures, a position description, or specific training indicating what is acceptable behavior helps to lay the groundwork for successful feedback. Delivering the feedback as close to the time of the behavior as possible and dealing with each single issue or incident at a time is much better than trying to deal with multiple offenses. I find it helpful to practice writing out and delivering the message to reduce nervousness.

Challenges to providing feedback:

I mentioned before that feedback should be a part of the relationship. Feedback should be considered an ongoing process that enables review and continuous growth. It is unfortunate that many avoid providing any feedback. Additionally, it may erroneously be delivered at inappropriate times in a rushed, abrupt, and negative fashion. Lack of skill and confidence often times prevents providing developmental feedback. Some may have a real fear of offending people. Or, some may simply believe it really does not matter. Feedback does matter. People feel bitter about their leaders who lacked the courage to provide them with developmental feedback. They report feeling like they have been cheated from the opportunity to grow and be more effective.

In wrapping up, feedback is specific and timely, and should be given shortly after the event (unless you are angry, in which case a cool down period is warranted). For a successful feedback session, consider these guidelines:

• Be clear on your intent for providing the information.
• Ensure you are not giving feedback in anger or while being judgmental.
• Prepare what you want to communicate. Choose your words, your tone and your body language carefully.
• Deliver your message in non-emotive language with the emphasis on the behavior rather than the person.
• Provide objective data to support your comments.
• Always communicate the impact on others or the organization.

You can do it. It just takes practice. You can start today!

For more information or to speak with a specialist from our staff, contact us.

Listen to Are you using the “F” word enough?

Technology Flyer


Come and join us for a day-long workshop dealing with Technology for Instruction


Technology – How Much Belongs In The Classroom For EMS


As I write this, I think to how often I’m asked, “How important is technology in education?”.

The interface between educational technology and medical instruction is integral and symbiotic.

Educational technology, especially computers and computer-related peripherals, have grown tremendously and have permeated all areas of our lives. How can you argue that banks, hospitals, or any industry should use less technology? Limiting technology in school is an argument that many young people cannot understand.

For them, use of the Internet, for example, plays a major role in their relationships with their friends, their families, and their schools.

The Internet is becoming an increasingly vital tool in our information society. More Americans are going online to conduct such day-to-day activities as education, business transactions, personal correspondence, research and information-gathering, and job searches. Each year, being digitally connected becomes ever more critical to economic and educational advancement and community participation. Now that a large number of Americans regularly use the Internet to conduct daily activities, people who lack access to these tools are at a growing disadvantage. Therefore, raising the level of digital inclusion by increasing the number of Americans using the technology tools of the digital age is a vitally important national goal. (U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, & National Telecommunications and Information Administration. (2000, p. xv)

The very concept of the Internet would not be possible without technology. This is paralleled by the incredibly rapid growth of information that likely would not be possible without this technology. Research centers with no computers would arouse suspicion about the completeness, accuracy, and currency of their information because science and mathematics information grows daily and much of that new information can only be found through the use of technology.

From the beginning of the computer age, educational researchers and practitioners have told us that for technology use to be successful in our schools it needed to be closely tied to school reform. Glennan and Melmed (1995) wrote: “Technology without reform is likely to have little value: widespread reform without technology is probably impossible” (pp. 19–20.). The unavoidable conclusion is that successful improvement of technology, science, and mathematics education is of high importance to our future. In 2002, 100 high-tech executives met with President Bush to discuss the future of technology: They indicated that improving mathematics and science education ranked next to national security and broadband Internet access was one of the most important considerations for improving economic growth in their companies.

Given the vital role of technology in today’s world, technology use in classrooms with specific references to mathematics and science instruction, programs, and curricula is a must.

Teaching is changing and, in many ways, becoming a more difficult job because of increasingly numerous contradictory expectations.

  1. Information Overload – We live in an age of information overload with the expectation that students will learn high-level skills such as how to access, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize vast quantities of information. At the same time, educators are evaluated by their ability to have students pass standardized tests that often give no value to these abilities.
  2. Educators are expected to teach students to solve complex problems, often requiring knowledge necessary across many subject areas even as they are held accountable for the teaching and learning of isolated skills and information.
  3. Educators in public schools are expected to meet the needs of all participating students and move them toward fulfillment of their individual potential even as they are pressured to prepare students for maximum performance on high-stakes assessment tests that are the primary measure of student and school success.

Technology can actually assist with some of these expectations and make teachers—and their students—more successful. However, as the world becomes more complex—virtually year-to-year instead of the generation-to-generation pace of most of the last century—educational needs continue to shift from teaching and learning isolated skills and information within each content area, to teaching skills that enable students to solve complex problems across many areas. Educators must prepare for a technology-rich future and keep up with change by adopting effective strategies that infuse lessons with appropriate technologies.

A perspective from college students

As students enroll into EMS programs, their expectations will be that EMS instructors know how to integrate technology and use it to the fullest advantage possible. This just parallels the role that technology plays in delivering health care in the prehospital setting.

Technology is not just a passing fad. It does have a place in EMS education, The challenge for each educator is how to harness the technology and make for an effective experience for all!

Reference: North Central Regional Educational Laboratory

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Training vs Educating


Training vs Education

By: Richard W. Lippert

Many people don’t understand the difference between education and training.

The term training refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies.  Training has specific goals of improving one’s capability, capacity, and performance.

Education in the largest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense, education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another.

Training and education are both different facets of learning. At first, it may be difficult to tell the difference between them, especially in today’s school system, but there are major differences in training and education. Their purpose, history, and methodology are all vastly different.

Training – is undertaken in the hopes of gaining a specific skill. Generally this skill will make you more employable.  These skills can be manual, such as:

Plumbing Carpentry Basket Weaving

or intellectual/mental:

Computer Programming Finance Marketing

Education – is undertaken in the hopes and for the purpose of furthering your individual knowledge and developing your intellect. While a highly educated person is often more employable, education is not about getting a job.

Training – was originally practiced through guilds. The Stone Masons or bakers would be an example of this.  Younger workers would be apprenticed to a master baker or builder and work under him in order to learn his trade. This was considered the proper method of learning for the lower and middle classes.

Education – has its origins in the medieval university system. Young men from wealthy families would complete a course in theology or philosophy before studying his chosen profession. The theory of education also played a large role in the concept of the Renaissance man.

Training – is usually done through specialized courses and textbooks. The learning can often be done by rote and textbooks are very prescriptive. While independent thinking at a micro level is encouraged, revolutionary innovation is often looked down on. Training generally comes in a course; when the course is completed, the training is done.

Education – is a lifelong process. Most educational learning is done through real books, rather than textbooks. The learner is encouraged to think and write about what he is reading. Any point is open to discussion and the only right answers are those that can be found in the text.

In today’s school systems, the line between education and training can be very fine indeed. Especially at the collegiate level, many areas of mental training are being passed off as education. Programming, for instance, requires a difficult and specialized skill set and needs years of training. However, its end result is employment rather than self-improvement.

1. Education focuses on creating lifelong independent thinkers whereas training focuses on skills sought after by employers.
2. Training has its roots in the guild system while education’s origins lie in universities.

Our EMS education/training is just as complex as the fine line defining the difference between education and training.  It takes committed educators and trainers to continue to stretch the minds of our students!

*** You are either Green and Growing or Ripe and Rotting ***

Richard W. Lippert is service professional, consultant and speaker with over 20 years experience in operations and training. A Founder partner of GetYouThinking, LLC, , Richard has helped numerous clients enhance their service and training programs and spoken to many managers, franchisees and operators in various fields. Visit for more info motivating today’s employees, training today’s generation and delivering outstanding service.

Coaching – You Can Make The Difference!


When you hear the word coach, who or what do you think of?  I can still remember as a young football player in 9th grade having the chance to meet the “Varsity” coach after one of our workouts.  There I was… with Chuckie, Keith, Ken, and Smitty.  In a brief conversation, Coach McGregor told us how he saw us as the future of the team and said if we worked hard we would be in the starting line up.  How exciting!

Setting A Goal is an important aspect of coaching and team building.  More often, your players (employees) need that guidance or nudge to identify and move towards a goal.  Why should we set goals?  The brain produces some incredible chemicals.  Things activate the brain.  Things like doing something nice for someone or listening to music activate dopamine, seratonin and norepinephrine.  Exercising gets these endorphins hoping!  Having small wins along increases the chemicals, creates physical activations that enable physiological changes.  Increasing seratonin can reduce depression, anxiety, apathy, fear, feelings of worthlessness, insomnia and fatigue.

A typical individual is a wondering generality.  You do today what you did yesterday because that is just what you do.  You’ll be less effective tomorrow because you are two dsays older and still have no specific purpose.  Goals enable you to focus.  When at home, you can focus on home and when at work you can focus on work.

Use Measurable And Time Limited Goals. An objective measure of the the goal with specific time constraints provides a process in which any party can look up and adjust the sails if off course or power up if heading in the right direction.

Make As Big A Pile As You Can In Three Minutes. One way to do this is to take 3-5 minutes, brainstorm together the resources and place as many un-filtered ideas on a piece of paper.  Nothing is a bad idea.  This is not the time to filter out whether these brainstorming ideas are good or bad.

Plan Some Actions and let the person your are coaching pick What To Do First. Most individuals, albeit all individuals, want to focus on themselves.  Try this, look at a family picture.  Who did you look for first in the picture.  Yourself!  It is just natural…

Act on the plans.  Action overcomes fear.

Have the person your are coaching Report Weekly. This makes for an accountable system.

When he/she Meets The Goal – Celebrate!

When He Misses The Goal – Adjust The Plan and keep moving forward…

Thanks Coach McGregor and Happy Coaching to YOU!

For more information on this topic or to have an specialist from our staff provide you a program, contact us.

Listen to Coaching – You Can Make The Difference

What play do you call…


In a recent consultative role for a health care system conducting a hospital wide Emergency Preparedness drill, I was again reminded how important it is to develop your drills/practice opportunities to be as realistic as possible.  We do this in a way without jeopardizing real in-patient care.  Just knowing that there are resources out there for you to tap into as you prepare, engage in and critique your drill(s) is very important.  Realistic or simulation training is challenging for students and safe for the instructor to teach.

As in sports, it really doesn’t matter what play you call… As the coach, you are looking for the execution of the detail necessary to provide the result of success.

Making the most out of some simple moulage equipment can go far in preparing your staff for the “real” thing.

GetYouThinking, LLC Disaster Management Center staff preparing volunteer participants

In the health care field, practical exercises provide valuable hands-on experience that enables the student to gain proficiency and confidence performing a particular set of skills. Practical exercises are an important part of many training programs, especially those involving critical thinking, mobilization of resources, logistical concerns and patient care.  To create a more realistic skills training environment, we introduced role-playing and case studies into our clients training program.

Our subject matter experts, operators, and clinicians work together to take your staff through a wide range of talents and experiences based on many years of “real life” field experiences.  Drawing from their military, law enforcement, rescue, and medical backgrounds, our staff also coordinates with local, regional, state, and federal agencies to provide the most realistic and up-to-date training possible for our students.  We constantly aim to be at the forefront of industry standards, and design all our training and hands-on scenarios to be as true to life as possible.  The military has a philosophy of train as you fight and fight as you train.  We ensure you “train as you work and work as you train.”

For more information or to have an specialist from our staff provide you a program, contact us.

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Eyeing the DONUT – not the Hole


Oscar Wilde had been quoted saying, “Between the optimist and the pessimist, the difference is droll. The optimist sees the doughnut; the pessimist sees the hole.”

One of the most common inquires I receive deals with, in one context or another;

“How do I motivate my people”?

This common theme pervades management, leadership and education.  My answer is always the same… Focus on the big things (Donuts) and not the little things (Holes).

Much is in the saying of focusing on the Donut and not the Hole…

“If an optimist had his left arm chewed off by an alligator, he might say, in a pleasant and hopeful voice,
“Well, this isn’t too bad. I don’t have my left arm anymore, but at least nobody will ever ask me whether

I am right-handed or left-handed,” but most of us would say something more along the lines of

“Aaaaah! My arm! My arm!”

~ Lemony Snicket

The key to your success is learning how to change your perspective and focus your attention on the good and positive aspects of life by seeing the doughnut and not the hole.

For example, Walter Winchell defined an optimist as a person “who gets treed by a lion but enjoys the scenery.”

Your perspective in times of difficulty makes all the difference.

A doughnut has two parts—the fried dough and the hole. You’ve got a choice of which one will attract your attention. You can either focus on what you’ve got or you can focus on what you lack.

You need a positive VISION of the future if you’re going to live a life of celebration.   A recent patient encounter, at 103 years of age, she had already written books in her 90’s.  When asked for her secret, she said, “I don’t look at my life as behind me.”

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