The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland, affectionately known as ‘PathSoc’, has been in existence for more than a century, dedicated to enhancing high quality research and education in pathology in its broadest sense. The Pathological Society annual Winter School is a long-standing and renowned course which is aimed at Specialist Trainees in Histopathology from years ST2-5 and is based around sessions discussing educationally valuable cases that have been viewed by delegates prior to the course.
During the event, the Pathological Society create modern virtual classroom environment using both traditional microscopes and PathXL’s Digital Pathology education software which allows trainees to view and interact with virtual slides across a range of devices. This year the Winter School introduced ‘PathXL Tablet’, a new module to allow the trainees to view the cases on any tablet device. The module integrates seamlessly with existing PathXL accounts, offering a mobile friendly alternative with touch screen menu and dedicated tablet capabilities for Winter School trainees.
PathXL had the pleasure of interviewing Alison Winstanley & Catherine Horsfield, two of the organisers from The PathSoc Winter School to find out what has changed over the last few years and how PathXL’s software is helping them engage trainees- before, during and after the school.
- Can you give us a brief history of The Winter School? The Winter School started life as The Brighton Course and then became The Newcastle Course before settling on The Winter School when The Pathological Society of Great Britain & Ireland took over responsibility for its operation. It has running now for over 20 years under the ‘PathSoc’ banner, and Catherine and myself (Alison) have been involved with running it for the last 6 years. We have solely run it for the last 3 years. Time fly’s!
- How has it changed/grown over the years? It has moved location a number of times over its 20+ year history to accommodate for its growth. The main changes over that time has been the use of slide scanners and most recently the use of tablets and i-Pad, both of which came about because of PathXL’s software. It has really changed the way we teach and the way trainees are learning.
- What is your experience working with PathXL for Winter School? We love working with PathXL, everyone is so helpful and supportive. Technology for Alison and myself would not be our strong point but PathXL’s software is so simple to use that even IT novices like us can use it without any problems. We also know if we ever get into any difficulties we can call on PathXL team to answer any of our queries. Having worked with PathXL for over 5 years we know we can always depend on your Software to be the most up-to-date in the market and provide our course leaders and trainees with a reliable solution for all.
- What benefits do you see in Tablet over Desktop in the viewing of cases? Teaching with the use of a Tablet device really suits the layout of our courses at The Winter School. We are required to have microscopes on our desks which are laid out in a classroom style. This means there is no room for any desktops or even laptops, but having access to tablets means that the PathXL Software is available during the training session. It saves us space and allows lecturers to walk around the room with a tablet and interact more with the students. By having the touch screen on tablet devices also allows us to touch and interact with images more naturally than desktops, trainees really enjoy this feature.
- What is it about digital pathology the trainees enjoy most? The trainees love the live reporting when attending the course. This provides an invaluable training resource they can access outside the classroom setting. We find that before exams, all of the trainees use the online digital pathology resource go back to previous Winter School’s to review the case discussions and view answers, it’s an amazing archive for them to learn. Within the course we currently use PathXL software just to view the different cases and case information, but in the future we might develop this into other areas to improve teaching.
- Is the Pathological Society’s Winter School just for people in the UK? Over the history of the winter school we have moved around a lot but we have an amazing new location which has great transport links for everyone in the UK and anyone attending from anywhere in the world. Over the last few years Pathological Society’s Winter School has become more of an international event, with pathological students attending from all over the UK, Australia, Europe, Asia, and Middle East. These numbers are only set to grow and welcome everyone to come and join our course.
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