The 10th year of the traditional MEFANET conference was held on 29–30 November 2016 in Hotel Continental, Brno (Czech Republic). In the keynote lecture session, the floor was given to two invited speakers from abroad.
The name of Andrzej Kononowicz from the Jagiellonian University Medical College (Kraków, Poland) is well known to anyone interested in virtual patients. It is therefore obvious that the first keynote lecture was dedicated to this issue. Dr Kononowicz pointed out that the concept of virtual patients and simulations is not new at all: they have been mentioned in the literature since 1960s. Paradoxically, the most dynamic changes and development in this area over the last 50 years have not occurred due to technology, but thanks to the implementation of virtual patients and simulations into education. Many studies have been published since then, undoubtedly supporting the use of this form of education, but also debunking numerous myths and expectations, which often come along with new technology. The second speaker, Luke Woodham from St George’s, University of London, focused on another current pedagogical phenomenon, the so-called Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). These interactive online courses enable hundreds to thousands of users to learn a specific topic simultaneously, which surely makes sense in quite a few disciplines and topics. On the other hand, medical education often requires more formal and detailed assessment of students as well as personal interaction, and this is where MOOCs encounter certain obstacles. However, we must always keep in mind that any technology only provides tools, and that the manner and effectiveness of using them are up to the user.
The 11th year of the MEFANET conference will be held in Hotel Continental, Brno (Czech Republic), on 28–29 November 2017. The main theme of the conference will be sharing ideas and getting people together from various projects and networks, including the WAVES project.
More detailed information will be available soon at www.mefanet.cz/conference.
4. 1. 2017