Summary: Professor Harden will be attending the AAMC 2015 Meeting at the time of publishing his latest blog. He will be delivering a talk on the ‘hot topics from AMEE 2015’ and gives us a teaser of what to expect in the talk. Description: I am participating this week in the Association of American Medical Colleges Education Meeting in Baltimore.  We will be promoting AMEE’s activities and the AMEE 2016 meeting in Barcelona at the AMEE stand in the exhibition hall.  Scheduled in the programme is a session on Faculty Development led by David Irby where we hope to raise interest in the ASPIRE initiative and in particular the new Faculty Development category.  I have also been asked to talk in another session on hot topics from AMEE 2015 in Glasgow
 
Following a brief overview of the meeting I identify 54 topics that were addressed.  Almost certainly I will have missed out a number. As I have only 30 minutes available, I picked out five topics for particular consideration.  For each topic I summarise an important take-home message, note some of the sessions relating to the topic during the conference and play short extracts from the relevant recorded symposium or plenary session.  The PowerPoint slides I will use are on the MedEdWorld website (Resources area). 
 
My first take-home message relates to mapping learning.  This is an area where I have had an interest for some time but have been disappointed at the lack of progress made.  I was interested to see developments reported at the meeting from six somewhat different perspectives.  These were curriculum mapping, learning analytics, adaptive learning, competency-based education, entrustable professional activities and the personal learning record as described by Stephen Downes in the eLearning symposium. What interests me is that each of these perspectives contribute to the challenge and represent areas for future collaboration.
 
The second take-home message related to competency-based education and entrustable professional activities.  These are clearly now part of mainstream education and not just a passing fad.  As discussed by Vicki LeBlanc in a plenary session and emphasised by Rachel Ellaway in a question, competence cannot be looked at in isolation of emotions.  As noted by a student, resilience and other generic skills are important and these may not be captured by competencies as defined and by entrustable professional activities. 
 
The third take-home message related to student engagement.  Students should be partners and not just consumers of the learning.  This message came out strongly from a number of sessions and was highlighted by students present at the meeting.  The ASPIRE awards were made to six schools who were recognised for excellence in this area and on the recordings of the conference are interviews by Lawrence Sherman and John Dent with some of the ASPIRE award winners.
 
That stress and burnout should be addressed as a problem for students and staff emerged as a strong recommendation from the conference including attempts to predict who is vulnerable and action that might be taken.  There were a number of sessions on mindfulness and Adi Haramati gave an excellent opening presentation on Mindfulness as an antidote to chronic stress and burnout: Do we have the courage?
 
A number of activities at the meeting highlighted the importance of faculty development, not least the new ASPIRE-to-Excellence initiative in the area led by David Irby.  I was interested to note the Tweet by Ana Silva during the meeting ‘Faculty development if you do it right it makes good business sense.’  Some interesting issues were raised in relation to faculty development at the symposium on the subject.  One participant in the audience suggested in the question time that attention should be paid to a competency-based approach where we look more seriously at the competencies expected of a teacher. 
 
My final take-home message was that the flipped classroom merits consideration as an approach to replace at least some lectures.  I was interested to see that it is also being considered in the clinical context.
 
A novel feature of the meeting was the Hackathon which connected medics and educators with designers and developers and turned ideas into working prototypes in 48 hours.  Three products that impressed me were – Aluna. a personalised approach to navigating through a vast number of resources, Immersive medical training system, aimed at teaching communication skills in an immersive virtual environment, and Code Blu, a stack overflow design for medical students to exchange questions and answers.  Follow up presentations were made at the Elsevier premises in London in October and it is hoped that we will have a further follow up at AMEE in Barcelona.
 
I have referred in earlier blogs to students as described by Marc Prensky as the digital natives.  CBC News reports online on November 2nd that nearly all children under 4 have used mobile devices.  In a study reported in the journal Pediatrics at age two most children were using mobile devices daily.  About 44 per cent of children under age one used a mobile device on a daily basis to play games, watch video or use apps.
 
I will report on the AAMC Meeting in my next blog.