Although growing evidence supports the inclusion of social media in education, no studies to date have investigated the potential role of Instagram in anatomy education for dental students. Anatomists at University of Texas School of Dentistry (UTSD) and University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) College of Dentistry created unique Instagram pages supplemental to traditional pedagogy, aiming to provide easily-accessible, interactive content for our tech-savvy students. The aim of this study was to evaluate students’ perspectives of the use of social media in education and their respective professor's Instagram page. In the fall of 2020, 170 students (86 from UTSD and 84 from UNMC) voluntarily participated in a survey via Qualtrics. The majority of respondents (85.1%) had seven or more years of experience with social media, and 96.9% of students reported using social media as a source of information with 92.5% using for educational purposes. All students agreed that their respective professor's page has been helpful for anatomy study and review, added to their understanding of anatomy, is convenient, engaging, and professional. While consistent themes emerged between cohorts, UNMC students had a higher level of agreement regarding their page's added relevance to learning in the class/clinic (p = 0.0016), while UTSD students reported feeling more comfortable asking their professor questions through Instagram (p = 0.015). Among all variables, female students and Generation Z students responded more favorably than male or Generation Y counterparts. Here, the authors describe benefits and considerations for others interested in using Instagram as an educational tool.
- social media
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