Emerging Technologies for Teaching and Learning: Teaching 2.0. Int Anesthesiol Clin 48(3), Summer 2010.  Edited by Viji Kurup, M.D., Stanley H. Rosenbaum, M.D. Hagerstown, Maryland, Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2010. Pages: 166. Price: $162.00.

The quantity and sources of medical knowledge currently available present challenges to contemporary teachers and learners of medicine: what to learn, and when, where, and how to learn it. As faculty seek to maximize efficiency and efficacy of teaching without resorting to increasing the length of residency, students are seeking to optimize the efficiency and efficacy of learning, relying increasingly on strategies afforded by new technologies.

This issue of International Anesthesiology Clinics addresses the current status of teaching, learning, and technology in the context of the millennial learner, who is defined here as anyone born after 1980. The book derives its title “Teaching 2.0” from the term “Web 2.0.” As this reviewer discovered on a Wikipedia query, Web 2.0 refers to the evolution of the World Wide Web from a historically static to a currently interactive and interconnected system. In keeping with this terminology, the book focuses largely on information and computer technology, particularly those interactive aspects of technology that facilitate teaching and learning.

The book begins with an overview describing first the characteristics of the adult learner, then delineating the features of the millennial student as a learner in general and as a user of technology. The book then delves into the various technologies relevant to teaching and learning, addressing also the subject of simulation as a mandatory component of the maintenance of certification in anesthesiology program. It introduces the concept of including the patient as another type of learner who seeks information from the Internet, and it concludes by discussing the importance of wellness and ecologic responsibility in anesthesiology practice.

Most of the work concerns itself with presenting information for, presumably, a relatively technology-naïve and premillennial audience, highlighting those technologies and techniques that work well with the millennial learners' style. The spectrum of technical information catalogued in this volume ranges broadly from general conceptual explanations, such as podcasts and blogs, to descriptions of virtual learning systems and technical definitions related to Web 2.0. Subject matter features practical “how-tos,” examples of curricular content, and the theoretic underpinnings of virtual or Internet-based learning and interaction.

Concurrent with the reading of the distinguishing features of millennial learners, one realizes the many similarities between these and nonmillennial learners. Although millennial learners have perhaps never known life without the Internet, many nonmillennial learners may be equally conversant with technology. However, lest one assume that familiarity with technology corresponds to use of that technology, a surprising finding presented in this book is that although awareness of Web 2.0 technology in both populations may be high, actual use of the technology in both medical student and medical practitioner populations was low. With regard to descriptions of the three types of today's learners, the self-motivated student, the student who goes through the motions, and the students “who tune us out,” it seems that these are indeed accurate descriptions of learners across all generations.

The rapidity of change in technology may indeed far outpace the change in human teaching and learning habits. Nevertheless, it is incumbent upon an engaged lifelong learner to maintain an active interface with developing technology. This book provides a glimpse into an array of technologies that provides opportunities to leverage contemporary teaching and learning strategies.

Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois. christinepark@northwestern.edu