For those of you that don’t know about Dropbox, check it out. It’s an application that will effortlessly synchronise any chosen folders between your laptop, home computer and mobile device. You can invite friends so they can access nominated “shared” folders, and it means you have access to all of your data, all the time. We see this as a great invention for people who are studying, as you can access your study notes anywhere and you can share selected folders with your study group. In fact your study group can “drop” any notes, articles or practice questions into the shared folder so the rest of the group can access them as well, without having to send it via email. There’s even online access, so if you happen to find an interesting article or set of notes at work, you just log on to your online Dropbox account, upload the file, and when you get home it will be there on your home computer, laptop & phone.
Dropbox gives you the app and 2 GB of storage for free, and you can pay to have more storage space. We’ve been using it for a few weeks now and think it’s bloody excellent.
CAMSCANNER is an iphone app that ties in well with Dropbox. It let’s you take a photo (for example of a document), it will then save it as a pdf or jpeg, and then send it to your Dropbox folder. Very handy for ECG’s, path results, clinical photos and anything else you may want to save a pdf of while at work and have waiting for you when you get home.
Evernote is similar to Dropbox and we haven’t road tested it yet, but at first glance it seems pretty good. It’s better for people who find themselves living life on scraps of paper, with to-do lists, phone numbers, and things jotted down everyhwere. With Evernote you just type your info into a “new note” and Evernote will save it & sync it to all of your nominated devices. You can drag images from your desktop or even directly from a webpage into a new note and it’ll save it & sync it for you. You can even highlight text on a webpage, hit a button and it will open a new note with that text in it.
Here’s a quote from the website that gives you an idea of the functionality of this app:
“you can clip a cornbread recipe from the web on your Mac, read it on your iPhone when you’re at the grocery store buying the ingredients and look it up from your friend’s Windows PC when you’re at his house preparing to bake the cornbread”
For ED people we think it’ great as you can snap a photo of an interesting ECG or path result on your phone at work, send it straight to Evernote, when you get home it’ll be there on your home computer, and you can drag it straight into a word document and write a VAQ. Or if you see an interesting patient, or discuss a topic that you need to look up when you get home, just type yourself a quick note, and that way when you check your “to do” list at home that night it’ll be there to remind you. The downside of Evernote is that it seems that it’s a personal account and we don’t think you can share it. So you may still need Dropbox to share items with your study group.
Either way these are great applications for adult learners, and I’m sure some of you will already be thinking of ways you can integrate them into your study routine.